Podcast mooch

Printable Version
Pronunciation: much Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. (Transitive) To cadge, bum, scrounge, grub, freeload, sponge; to beg something from someone for free. 2. (Intransitive) To loaf, waste time, wander around aimlessly; to skip or play truant as to mooch from school or work. 3. (Intransitive) To skulk, lurk, sneak about surreptitiously. 4. (Intransitive, British regional) In certain areas of England this word is used in the sense of US scram or get lost, to leave, clear off (or out).

Notes: Verbs in English that end on hissing sounds like [ch] (also [s], [z], [sh]) require an E before the suffixes -s and -d: mooches and mooched. Someone who mooches is a moocher, the most (in)famous of whom was immortalized in the signature tune of orchestra leader, Cab Calloway, the garrulous Minnie the Moocher. Moochers distinguish themselves, of course, by their mooching stuff off their friends.

In Play: In the US, this word is most often used to describe the intent of freeloaders: "Seamus Allgood never buys his own beer; he just mooches it from his friends." Elsewhere it serves the slang community as a substitute for loaf: "Lloyd, if you're just going to mooch around the house all day, how about helping me spruce up the cat for the cat show?"

Word History: Although today's Good Word sounds very slangy, it has been around since the 14th century when it meant "to hoard". That may have been a different word, however, only accidentally similar to our word. Today's word seems more likely to have been borrowed from Old French muchier "to hide, skulk", one of the meanings it bears today. This sense could have easily migrated to "skipping school or work" (specifically to pick berries, originally) and from there to avoiding work and wasting time and, finally, living off the munificence of others.

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!