Let's say a person helps you study for an exam (as a favor). What is the activity/verb that describes that person when he keeps re-mentioning it, as to make you feel that you owe him something.

Is there a one-word verb (or adjective) for it?

For example,

person1: Can you give me a ride to the airport?

person2: Sorry, I'm busy.

person1: But I helped you study for your exam last week.

person2: Ok, I'll give you a ride.

Next week.

person1: Hey, I need some cash. You don't mind giving me some, since I helped you pass that exam two weeks ago.

person2: Ok, stop being such a (the word I'm looking for).

I believe many words could be used in this scenario, such as abusive or manipulative. However, I am looking for a more exact work, which describes the action of constant referencing of a previous favor, to make the other feel obligated to help.

  • ... such a pain?
    – terdon
    Feb 7, 2013 at 18:10
  • Many good suggestions here. I'd say "milking it" likely will work best. You could say, "Stop milking that favor" or "You've already milked that favor for all it's worth." (Though I also like the suggested use of beholden for its dramatic ring.) Now I'm interested to hear what you use and how it works.
    – Susan Will
    Feb 7, 2013 at 19:17
  • I agree. I like milking it the most. Though I'll wait for more suggestions. I was hoping for a verb that describes the person, rather than the favor. For example, You are something (to) me. In my native language, Arabic, we have an informal word/phrase for it. Feb 7, 2013 at 20:10
  • Roronoa: A similar sentiment might be stop laying a guilt trip on me, although that isn't the noun you're looking for, either. One noun you might consider is cadger, which means one who gets his living by trickery or begging; someone who mooches or tries to get something free. That word doesn't imply a previously-granted favor, though, so it falls a little short, too.
    – J.R.
    Feb 8, 2013 at 1:56

4 Answers 4


The best I can come up with is that your friend is

Milking it for all it's worth


That activity might be called nagging or pestering, and the actor could be called a nag or a pest.

But really it's someone who doesn't understand the definition of the word "favor". A favor is something you do for someone without expecting anything in return.

  • This is one form of wheedling, but I don't believe there's a special term for this particular variant. Feb 7, 2013 at 18:12

A common phrase in American English is call in a favor. This is generally used to indicate someone seeking to be paid back for previous favors given.

Your question seems to suggest a repeated nagging for one or more favors. This is not conveyed by that phrase.

A related phrase, usually used by a person in a power position because of prior favors granted, is I own you, indicating that the person previously favored has an unending obligation to the speaker. Further, the speaker is usually demanding rather than asking for the return benefit.

  • In my social circles, one can only call in a favor (also call in a chit) after someone says thanks, I owe you one [favor]. I think the nagger in question is asserting a debt that may not have been freely given... and I agree that there should be a word for this kind of passive aggression. Feb 7, 2013 at 18:05

Person 2's response could be, "Enough! Exactly how long must I be beholden to you for that favor you did for me?!"


Function: adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from past participle of beholden

Date: 14th century

Definition: being under obligation for a favor or gift : indebted

example: "I'm beholden to you"

From Merriam-Webster Online

related article on the psychology of generosity and doing/receiving favors

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