I cannot find the right words or expression or idiom to describe a person who borrows something from someone but will not return it to its owner.

Also, I would like to know the word that describes a person who no matter how many times you tell them to give you back the money, they just smile and do nothing.

  • 2
    Verb to welsh and associated agent noun welsher are now rejected by editors as ethnic slurs. I'm not sure the gap they left in the lexicon has been filled. Aug 14, 2015 at 15:12
  • I see. Yet, can the word welser be used with a friend who won't give me back the money he borrows?
    – Jjang eu
    Aug 14, 2015 at 15:16
  • Also, can u tell the word that can be used to describe a person in 2? Is there an expression as 'having a thick skin.'
    – Jjang eu
    Aug 14, 2015 at 15:19
  • Well I don't have a word for the person but the act could be called tingo - to take all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by asking to borrow them
    – Yeshe
    Aug 14, 2015 at 15:28
  • 1
    Dagwood's neighbor Herb.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 15, 2015 at 15:47

4 Answers 4


The word "deadbeat" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "one who persistently fails to pay personal debts or expenses", though other dictionaries specify that this usage is particular to North America.

As for someone who "smiles and does nothing" when someone demands payment of these debts, I suppose one might call that a shameless deadbeat.

  • 'The Shameless Deadbeats' sounds like a rock group. Is it? Aug 14, 2015 at 15:35
  • @EdwinAshworth Evidently not. A quick internet search for the exact (case-insensitive) phrase "the Shameless Deadbeats" returns only two results, a message board post complaining about the Chicago police, and a Duck Tales fanfic. Aug 14, 2015 at 15:39
  • How do I make sure nobody pinches my intellectual property? Aug 14, 2015 at 15:43
  • @EdwinAshworth Well, one could make the case that it's actually my intellectual property. : ) But it appears that the domain name "shamlessdeadbeats.com" is still available for registration, if you've got fifteen dollars lying around. Aug 14, 2015 at 15:46
  • Don't rock the boat. Fifteen dollars? Can you lend it me? Aug 14, 2015 at 15:53

I think of the word leech. It refers to FPT sites. Several years ago these sites would often have ratios where people would get a certain amount of downloadable bytes for every byte they uploaded. Sites that did not have ratios were said to be "leech" sites because you could download all you wanted without having to upload.

The term now more refers to any individual who is often into the piracy scene and doesn't do anything but download files for cracked versions of software, movies, music and so on.

They don't share what they have downloaded and don't provide help to others looking for certain files. I guess that might help you

  • +1 for leech. The answer would have been better if it had started with leech as blood-sucker and gone on to its long usage to refer to someone of the type in the OP.
    – ab2
    Aug 15, 2015 at 21:44

Here are some ideas (although I like 'Dagwood's neighbor Herb' very much).

Scofflaw -- someone who shamelessly ignores his financial and other legal obligations; this only intersects partially with what you're looking for, I think.

Scrounger -- a person who borrows from or lives off others.

Moocher or mooch -- from to mooch, to borrow a small item or amount without intending to return or repay it.

Schnorrer (Yiddish) -- I'm not sure if this matches up well. The definitions I've found on the internet don't seem to, however, the same word in German works great.

(If things get really bad, you could say parasite -- but that is very strong.)



From Oxford Dictionaries Online:


British informal

verb (blags, blagging, blagged) [with object]

1) Manage to obtain (something) by using persuasion or guile: ‘they blagged two free tickets to France’

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