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or mouch

[mooch] /mutʃ/ Slang.
verb (used with object)
to borrow (a small item or amount) without intending to return or repay it.
to get or take without paying or at another's expense; sponge:
He always mooches cigarettes.
to beg.
to steal.
verb (used without object)
to skulk or sneak.
to loiter or wander about.
Also, moocher. a person who mooches.
Origin of mooch
1425-75; late Middle English, apparently variant of Middle English michen < Old French muchier to skulk, hide Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for moocher
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The fellow was correct about the clothes and the filthiness of the English moocher.

    Tramping with Tramps Josiah Flynt
  • The English moocher has to resort to his "gag," and his "lurks" are almost innumerable.

    Tramping with Tramps Josiah Flynt
  • I'm the only moocher in this 'ouse, an' I want you to know it.

    Tramping with Tramps Josiah Flynt
  • The giant was plunged in gloomy abstraction, and Vetch and the moocher interchanged a significant glance.

  • Vetch skipped nimbly on one side, but Gabbett struck the moocher on the forehead with the axe.

British Dictionary definitions for moocher


verb (slang)
(intransitive) often foll by around. to loiter or walk aimlessly
(intransitive) to behave in an apathetic way
(intransitive) to sneak or lurk; skulk
(transitive) to cadge
(transitive) (mainly US & Canadian) to steal
Derived Forms
moocher, noun
Word Origin
C17: perhaps from Old French muchier to skulk
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 moocher

"beggar, scrounger," 1857, agent noun from mooch (v.).



mid-15c., "pretend poverty," probably from Old French muchier, mucier "to hide, sulk, conceal, hide away, keep out of sight," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Celtic or Germanic (Liberman prefers the latter, Klein the former). Or the word may be a variant of Middle English mucchen "to hoard, be stingy" (c.1300), probably originally "to keep coins in one's nightcap," from mucche "nightcap," from Middle Dutch muste "cap, nightcap," ultimately from Medieval Latin almucia, of unknown origin. Sense of "sponge off others" first recorded 1857.

Whatever the distant origin of mooch, the verb *mycan and its cognates have been part of European slang for at least two millennia. [Liberman]
Related: Mooched; mooching. As a noun meaning "a moocher," from 1914.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for moocher



A beggar; borrower; deadbeat, sponge: He heard a moocher deliver the following spiel/ Minnie the moocher, she was a low-down hootchy-cootcher (1857+)



  1. moocher (1914+)
  2. A gullible customer; dupe; mark (1929+ Carnival)
  3. A person who listens to the pitch, but does not buy (1940s+ Carnival)
  4. A customer who painstakingly examines the merchandise before buying (1940s+ Salespersons)


  1. To beg; borrow; cadge, sponge: The geisha girls are forever mooching chocolates (1857+)
  2. To steal (1862+)
  3. To stroll; loaf along (1851+)

[fr earlier mowche, ''to pretend poverty; play truant,'' found by 1460, fr Old French muchier, ''to hide, skulk'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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