• synonyms


  1. a person who idles and trusts to fortune
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Derived FormsMicawberish, adjectiveMicawberism, noun

Word Origin

C19: after a character in Charles Dickens' novel David Copperfield (1850)
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

Examples from the Web for micawber

Historical Examples

  • Phineas, like Mrs. Micawber, swore he would never desert him.

    The Rough Road

    William John Locke

  • And indeed, if a Micawber had been wanting, Mary knew where to look for him.

  • Who has not himself waited, like Micawber, for something to turn up?

  • Waiting for something to turn up, like our old friend Micawber!

  • I can only look out, like Mr. Micawber, for something to turn up.

Word Origin and History for micawber



as a type of a childishly impractical man living in optimistic fantasy, from the character of Wilkins Micawber in Dickens' "David Copperfield" (1850).

"I am at present, my dear Copperfield, engaged in the sale of corn upon commission. It is not an avocation of a remunerative description -- in other words it does not pay -- and some temporary embarrassments of a pecuniary nature have been the consequence. I am however delighted to add that I have now an immediate prospect of something turning up ...."
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper