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[mahy-zer] /ˈmaɪ zər/
a person who lives in wretched circumstances in order to save and hoard money.
a stingy, avaricious person.
Obsolete. a wretched or unhappy person.
Origin of miser
1535-45; < Latin: wretched
2. skinflint, tightwad, pinchpenny.

Miser, The

noun, French L'Avare
a comedy (1668) by Molière. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for miser
  • As anyone surely knows, Scrooge is a nasty miser.
  • Before he began giving money away, people complained that he was a miser.
  • I'm neither a spendthrift nor a miser.
  • Food does not satisfy the greedy man, nor money the miser.
  • The miser swimming in gold seems to me like a thirsty fish.
  • Her father is also a pathological miser, she says.
  • These are identified as miser's purses and gaming pouches.
  • It is concerned with definitions the way a miser is concerned with money.
  • Among them he was seen as a gullible fool and a miser.
  • He was a very severe man, a miser and a terribly successful businessman.
British Dictionary definitions for miser


a person who hoards money or possessions, often living miserably
selfish person
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: wretched


(civil engineering) a large hand-operated auger used for loose soils
Word Origin
C19: origin unknown
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for miser

1540s, "miserable person, wretch," from Latin miser (adj.) "unhappy, wretched, pitiable, in distress," of unknown origin. Original sense now obsolete; main modern meaning of "money-hoarding person" recorded 1560s, from presumed unhappiness of such people.

Besides general wretchedness, the Latin word connoted also "intense erotic love" (cf. slang got it bad "deeply infatuated") and hence was a favorite word of Catullus. In Greek a miser was kyminopristes, literally "a cumin seed splitter." In Modern Greek, he might be called hekentabelones, literally "one who has sixty needles." The German word, filz, literally "felt," preserves the image of the felt slippers which the miser often wore in caricatures. Lettish mantrausis "miser" is literally "money-raker."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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