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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English moochen, mouchen (to pretend poverty), from Old French muchier, mucier, mucer (to skulk, hide, conceal), from Old Frankish *mukjan (to hide, conceal oneself), from Proto-Germanic *mukjaną, *mūkōną (to hide, ambush), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)mūg-, *(s)mewgʰ- (swindler, thief). Cognate with Old High German mūhhōn (to store, cache, plunder), Middle High German muchen, mucken (to hide, stash), Middle English müchen, michen (to rob, steal, pilfer). More at mitch.

Alternate etymology derives mooch from Middle English mucchen (to hoard, be stingy, literally to hide coins in one's nightcap), from mucche (nightcap), from Middle Dutch mutse (cap, nightcap), from Medieval Latin almucia (nightcap), of unknown origin. More at mutch, amice.



mooch (third-person singular simple present mooches, present participle mooching, simple past and past participle mooched)

  1. (Britain) To wander around aimlessly, often causing irritation to others.
  2. To beg, cadge, or sponge; to exploit or take advantage of others for personal gain.
    • 1990, p. 26, Michael L. Frankel & friends, Gently with the Tides, Center for Marine Conservation, Washington (DC), ISBN 1879269-007, p. 26,
      I managed to mooch my way up the journalistic ladder to the next, more impressive level of “Interviewer”.
  3. (Britain) To steal or filch.
    • 1922, J. S. Fletcher, The Middle of Things, ch. 16,
      These chaps that mooch about, as Hyde was doing, pick up all sorts of odds and ends. He may have pinched them from a chemist’s shop.

Derived terms[edit]



mooch (plural mooches)

  1. (Britain) An aimless stroll.
    Jack wouldn't be arriving for another ten minutes, so I had a mooch around the garden.
  2. One who mooches; a moocher.