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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
Historical Examples
  • miser Farebrother felt as if a great weight had been lifted from his heart.

    Miser Farebrother, Volume I (of 3) Benjamin Leopold Farjeon
  • Robert was right in calling him a miser, but he had not always deserved the name.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Wealth, more than miser ever craved, office and place lower but little than Aurelian's own, shall be thine—'

    Aurelian William Ware
  • He repulsed the advances of neighbors, and became what Robert called him—a miser.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • The miser says,—You forbid me to love money, to seek after the means of acquiring it: alas!

    The System of Nature, Volume 1 Paul Henri Thiery (Baron D'Holbach)
  • But you know the old man has become a miser, and makes money his idol.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Like the miser, he broods over his treasures: he does not use them.

    What is Property? P. J. Proudhon
  • She declared she was thrifty, but neither a miser, nor a kidnaper, nor a witch.

    Welsh Fairy Tales William Elliott Griffis
  • "Mave, as you expect to have the gates of Heaven opened to your sowl, an' don't lave me," exclaimed the miser with clasped hands.

  • I have a regard for old Matthew, though he is something of a miser, I fear.

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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