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[mahy-zer] /ˈmaɪ zər/
a person who lives in wretched circumstances in order to save and hoard money.
a stingy, avaricious person.
Obsolete. a wretched or unhappy person.
Origin of miser
1535-45; < Latin: wretched
2. skinflint, tightwad, pinchpenny.

Miser, The

noun, French L'Avare
a comedy (1668) by Molière. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for miser
Historical Examples
  • Robert was right in calling him a miser, but he had not always deserved the name.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • He repulsed the advances of neighbors, and became what Robert called him—a miser.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • But you know the old man has become a miser, and makes money his idol.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • She declared she was thrifty, but neither a miser, nor a kidnaper, nor a witch.

    Welsh Fairy Tales William Elliott Griffis
  • I have a regard for old Matthew, though he is something of a miser, I fear.

  • I should think myself a miser, a selfish wretch, if I had kept them any longer.

    Doctor Pascal Emile Zola
  • Course, you and me know they're mean, miser'ble liars, but it's her I'm thinkin' of.

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Ain't you got any self-respect at all, you miser'ble, low-lived—' and so forth and so on.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Perhaps it is merely a story of a miser and his daughter's dowry.

  • The miser is happy when he hoards his gold; the philanthropist when he distributes his.

    The Fifth String

    John Philip Sousa
British Dictionary definitions for miser


a person who hoards money or possessions, often living miserably
selfish person
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: wretched


(civil engineering) a large hand-operated auger used for loose soils
Word Origin
C19: origin unknown
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for miser

1540s, "miserable person, wretch," from Latin miser (adj.) "unhappy, wretched, pitiable, in distress," of unknown origin. Original sense now obsolete; main modern meaning of "money-hoarding person" recorded 1560s, from presumed unhappiness of such people.

Besides general wretchedness, the Latin word connoted also "intense erotic love" (cf. slang got it bad "deeply infatuated") and hence was a favorite word of Catullus. In Greek a miser was kyminopristes, literally "a cumin seed splitter." In Modern Greek, he might be called hekentabelones, literally "one who has sixty needles." The German word, filz, literally "felt," preserves the image of the felt slippers which the miser often wore in caricatures. Lettish mantrausis "miser" is literally "money-raker."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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