In Russian we have the word сорока (magpie) for a person that (among other negative traits) likes and is attracted to shiny things (e.g. gold), usually cheap ones like fake jewelry, or just kind of hoards cheap things in general.

What is the closest equivalent to this in English (preferably American English), if there is one of course?


5 Answers 5


Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is in your own question: "сорока" = magpie

magpie (countable noun): If you describe someone as a magpie, you mean that they like collecting and keeping things, often things that have little value.

{informal} "A born magpie, Mandy collects any object that catches her eye."

Collins dictionary

For example:

"Magpies do not steal trinkets and are positively scared of shiny objects, according to new research.

The study appears to refute the myth of the “thieving magpie”, which pervades European folklore.

It is widely believed that magpies have a compulsive urge to steal sparkly things for their nests."


  • 3
    This definition of magpie can be found in American dictionaries, and some Americans will recognize it, even though they don't live in most of the U.S. Dec 4, 2020 at 22:35
  • 1
    According to Google Ngrams, the phrase "like a magpie" is used twice as often in British books as it is in American. I would agree that magpie is the equivalent that you are looking for, but not everyone will understand what you mean.
    – AndyB
    Dec 6, 2020 at 23:35

@Anton's answer of magpie is probably the way to go here. But I feel compelled to throw in

positive phototaxis which is the compulsion of an organism to move towards bight objects. (Wikipedia) Like a moth to a flame.

Next time I'm feeling clever with my wife, I'll be sure to use this one.


Bling often implies a certain degree of cheapness in the quality of the shiny jewelry, or hubcaps, or whatever else, so a person who likes a lot of bling. Maybe a "Bling Diva" or "Bling Master" or some such combination of words would work.

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    A tempting opportunity to invent. J_Hat is on it with "bling", but that is a thing not a person, and though softly negative, not overly so. So... Blingaddict? Blingslut? Blinger? Dec 5, 2020 at 0:36

This uses a liberal amount of figurative language and pop culture, but I have heard several people use the term "niffler" to refer to someone that loves shiny things. This is a reference to the magical animal in the Harry Potter franchise that are attracted to shiny things. This would definitely be non-standard, since it is a figurative reference to something in popular culture, so this would only be useful in very informal settings with people familiar with that series.


Ostentatious comes to mind. And tacky has more negativity.

  • 1
    You should include linked dictionary definitions for your suggested words. Dec 5, 2020 at 7:54

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