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I am trying to find a good word or phrase to describe someone who (or the act of someone which) tries to benefit from everything someone else has or does.

The context is, on a personal level.

For example, a friend, parent or someone else tries to be included in all of the good things that come out of your hard work.

A more concrete example may be "My friend Sam is always pushing to drive my new car, stay at my new house, go out when I get paid knowing I'll pick up the tab, inviting herself and her child to any of my interesting outings for the child's benefit. Sam is ______".

I do want to make the distinction that this should not be strictly related to money. It's just one person who uses someone else's advantageous situation to benefit, at every possible opportunity. The word/phrase I am looking for should describe either that person or their act.

marked as duplicate by ermanen, tchrist, Edwin Ashworth, 200_success, anongoodnurse Jan 25 '15 at 19:56

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  • 1
    Although the cited post has the answer freeloader, that question is significantly different. "Someone who isn't afraid to ask for money or any kind of favor or who misinterprets someone's generosity" is essentially one taking advantage of others," not "claiming others' achievements and possessions as one's own" as per OP. I see a distinction and think the other post doesn't have the right answer for that question, except for "exploitative" that comes closest. (english.stackexchange.com/a/94801/14666). – Kris Jan 26 '15 at 13:29

10 Answers 10


Leech. While the biological leech is a parasite, the metaphorical meaning does not require actual damage to the host. It is characterized by attaching oneself to the accomplishments of a host and not doing significant efforts of one's own.

  • 1
    It's also used in torrenting for users who download a file but don't assist in the process of sharing the file with others who are trying to download it. – Faraz Masroor Jan 25 '15 at 1:36

parasite src: ODO

2 derogatory A person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return:
the capitalist is really a parasite on the workers
etym: … '(person) eating at another's table' …
hanger-on, cadger, leech, passenger, drone
informal bloodsucker, sponger, sponge, scrounger, freeloader
British informal ligger
North American informal moocher, mooch
Australian/New Zealand informal bludger

There may be a better word or phrase more closely fitting the OP's need, though.

  • no I don't think there are any better expressions than those given by you. In order to closesr describe it I suppose you can use parasite in combination with the adjectives "importunate/opportunistic" given by me. I.e. opportunistic parasite. – AverageGatsby Jan 24 '15 at 14:12

Sponge and moocher come to mind.

From http://www.thefreedictionary.com/moocher

mooch (mo͞och) Informal v. mooched, mooch·ing, mooch·es v.tr.
1. To obtain or try to obtain by begging; cadge. See Synonyms at cadge.
2. To steal; filch.

1. To get or try to get something free of charge; sponge: lived by mooching off friends.
2. To wander about aimlessly.
3. To skulk around; sneak.

1. One who begs or cadges; a sponge.
2. A dupe, as in a confidence game.


One word that comes to my mind is free loader and another word is the movie called friends with the benefits

  • 4
    2 very different suggestions. Freeloader fits (and would get my vote ) but the other is wrong in any use I've heard. – Chris H Jan 24 '15 at 20:04
  • 5
    "friends with benefits" refers to people that are having sex together (benefits), but have decided to nevertheless not have a romantic relationship (friends). – Dave Cousineau Jan 24 '15 at 22:38

Searching for a single word is bound to be unsatisfactory. However, if you described your friend as "pushy" (not worried about being polite to get what she wants) and "insinuating" (forcing herself into situations where she may not be welcome) most people would get the gist.


I would say "sam is importunate" or "Sam is an opportunist" or even both combined since they, standing alone, do not cover the full range of what I assume you want to express. I.e. "Sam is opportunisticly importunate" but eww. Otherwise you can combine them with just any noun. Nevertheless as Dogbert suggested in the comments "an opportunistic weasel" does convey both ideas at the same time.



an opportunistic

You opportunistic weasel

  • 2
    Opportunistic weasel sounds fitting. – Cloud Jan 24 '15 at 19:42
  • @Dogbert True. I guess you can combine it with pretty much every noun. Opportunistic toaster. You just have to sound convincing. The addressed will automatically try to make sense of the question why you specifically chose toaster and he will come up with something – AverageGatsby Jan 24 '15 at 20:11
  • @Dogbert but weasel ofc. does imply the importunity which most other nouns would not necessarily convey. – AverageGatsby Jan 24 '15 at 20:19

The first phrase that comes to mind is 'doesn't pull his weight', but this is more about someone working in a team who doesn't do his or her share.

I think it's a nautical term and comes from when sailors had to pull heavy ropes together. This was one of the main reasons why the men would sing, so that they would pull together in time. If someone was lazy, he might let the other do the hard work and not pull his weight.

  • This phrase doesn't capture what you describe, however. There are other words that may be used: - scrounger/moocher: someone who makes a habit of getting something for nothing - parasite/sponger: someone who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without giving in return These don't really cover the part of 'taking credit for something somebody else does' though – Graham Stanley Jan 24 '15 at 13:33

There is a verb, glom which has several meanings

  • US) to acquire, esp without paying Collins
  • To grab or hold onto something: The child glommed on to her mother's arm. American Heritage
  • To become attached to something; stick: The candies had glommed together in the heat American Heritage

There is also a noun derivation, glommer

  • a person who steals.
  • a person who catches or grabs from others. Wiktionary

The range of meanings, taken together, suggest the kind of leech (see the answer by @Kris) described in the question.


Sam is exploiting me.
Sam is taking advantage of me.
Sam is using me.
Sam is leeching off me.
Sam is taking advantage of my good nature/goodwill.
Sam is manipulating me.
Sam is milking me for favours.
Sam is imposing on me.


For the very specific case of someone taking credit on the football field for the effort of others, we have the term goal hanger 1

a metaphor for someone who doesn't try at anything but gets the results through luck and other people's endeavors.

I think it's a useful term that can generalise to other domains (although I'm not aware of that practise).

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