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
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 20:23
  • 3
    It's worth noting the different usages of bum on the different sides of the Atlantic. For BrE, start with scrounger.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 20:26
  • 7
    'kind of a jerk'?
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 3:49
  • 2
    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
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 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]


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

  • 5
    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
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 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
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 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
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 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
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 23:02
  • Please add moocher into your answer
    – jhocking
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 5:26

A leech

3 : a hanger-on who seeks advantage or gain


  • 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
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 5:51
  • @ZafKhan Is that pseudo-VB?
    – ctype.h
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 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.

  • 3
    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.). Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 22:15
  • 2
    I've heard it used in a positive way to describing a child's impressive learning abilities. Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 2:57
  • 1
    My memory is like a sponge... it's got lots of holes in it.
    – Mark Byers
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 8:10
  • 2
    In Britain it is definitely sponger.
    – WS2
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 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.


Would you allow the Yiddish schnorrer?

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

  • Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov actually was known to take (food, etc.) from others because otherwise the tzedakah funds would have gone to waste. Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 19:16
  • @AdamMosheh Do you have a source for that please? Commented Dec 22, 2012 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. Commented Dec 31, 2012 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. Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 17:34

A scrounger:

a person who borrows from or lives off others


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



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

From the FreeDictionary.com


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


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.


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.


I call them Shameless.

They have no shame and will beg for scraps.

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