What would you call someone who isn't afraid to ask for money or any kind of favor or who misinterprets someone's generosity for a consistent resource for what they need?

  • Start here: thefreedictionary.com/bum – MetaEd Dec 18 '12 at 20:23
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    It's worth noting the different usages of bum on the different sides of the Atlantic. For BrE, start with scrounger. – Andrew Leach Dec 18 '12 at 20:26
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    'kind of a jerk'? – Mitch Dec 19 '12 at 3:49
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    It's interesting how many different words there are for this... also @AndrewLeach I find 'bum' to be quite common in Britain (e.g. 'can I bum a cigarette off you?') – Nico Burns Dec 19 '12 at 18:29

13 Answers 13


A freeloader

a person who habitually depends on the charity of others for food, shelter, etc.

[The Free Dictionary]

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We used the term "mooch" (def 7) when I was younger. I think that one literary offering is "takers" (Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged)

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    You can improve your answer by providing a link to a definition of mooch. For example: thefreedictionary.com/mooch And moocher is an alternative form of the word that is more recognizable as a noun. – JLG Dec 18 '12 at 21:38
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    I thought that the use of it as a noun was limited to my friends in high school so I didn't expect to find it in any dictionary. – rosends Dec 18 '12 at 22:41
  • Google it and you will find that it is, indeed, an entry in numerous dictionaries. Add a link and I'll give you an upvote and remove my comments. – JLG Dec 18 '12 at 22:46
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    leave the comments and don't worry about an upvote. You have validated my childhood vocabulary. That's worth more to me. – rosends Dec 18 '12 at 23:02
  • Please add moocher into your answer – jhocking Dec 19 '12 at 5:26

A leech

3 : a hanger-on who seeks advantage or gain


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  • I will agree with WayfaringStranger and say the term for that type of person is leech. If Leech Attached Then SoonDead = True End If – Zaf Khan Dec 19 '12 at 5:51
  • @ZafKhan Is that pseudo-VB? – ctype.h Dec 19 '12 at 22:29

You could also call that person a sponge:

sponge n.
8. One who habitually depends on others for one's own maintenance.

The term sponger is also used to mean the same thing, chiefly in British English.

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    Yes for sponger, which in my experience is used quite naturally in the UK to mean scrounger. But if I ever see/hear "He's a sponge", it's likely to be followed by further explanatory text (perhaps explicitly saying he sponges up other people's money, but perhaps he's a sponge for information, praise, knowledge, etc.). – FumbleFingers Dec 18 '12 at 22:15
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    I've heard it used in a positive way to describing a child's impressive learning abilities. – dodgy_coder Dec 19 '12 at 2:57
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    My memory is like a sponge... it's got lots of holes in it. – Mark Byers Dec 19 '12 at 8:10
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    In Britain it is definitely sponger. – WS2 Aug 1 '14 at 15:01

One meaning of the word parasite is:

One who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without making any useful return.

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Would you allow the Yiddish schnorrer?

“One who habitually takes advantage of others' generosity, often through an air of entitlement.”

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  • Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov actually was known to take (food, etc.) from others because otherwise the tzedakah funds would have gone to waste. – Adam Mosheh Dec 21 '12 at 19:16
  • @AdamMosheh Do you have a source for that please? – Avrohom Yitzchok Dec 22 '12 at 19:15
  • @AvrohomYitzchok - Unfortunately I cannot remember 100%. IIRC, however, it was in a book that is a compilation of stories that were told over by Rabbi Shlomoh Carlebach a"h. Levi Yitzchak Berditchover and also Reb Zusha of Anipoly. – Adam Mosheh Dec 31 '12 at 19:30
  • @AvrohomYitzchok: The 1928 Marx Brothers musical, Animal Crackers, featured a Bert Kalmer and Harry Ruby song introducing Groucho's character using the term: CHORUS: "Hooray for Captain Spalding, the African Explorer,"GROUCHO: "Did someone say a <i>schnorrer</i>?<br>CHORUS: "Hooray, hooray, hooray." <p>Indeed, Groucho's Capt. Spalding was indeed a schnorrer, moocher, and fraud, and terrific. – Bruce James Mar 13 '13 at 17:34

A scrounger:

a person who borrows from or lives off others

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A taker. It's colloquial, but spot on.

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One who takes advantage of any opportunity to achieve an end, often with no regard for principles or consequences.

From the FreeDictionary.com

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Exploitative, as in 'tending to make use of selfishly or unethically'.

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I'd agree with Dan; I'd call that person a mooch. From NOAD:

(verb) ask for or obtain (something) without paying for it
(noun) a beggar or scrounger

You can also use moocher in place of mooch. Wordnik defines moocher as "A person having a tendency to repeatedly ask help of others, especially if they are making little effort to help themselves."

In British English, you could also use cadge or cadger.

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User was the first that came to mind... That person is such a user. I've also heard cat. ...Once you give, they keep on coming back.

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I call them Shameless.

They have no shame and will beg for scraps.

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