\ ˈkaj How to pronounce cadge (audio) \
cadged; cadging

Definition of cadge

: beg, sponge cadge a free cup of coffee

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cadge

cadger noun

Did You Know?

As long ago as the 1400s, peddlers traveled the British countryside, each with a packhorse or a horse and cart, first carrying produce from rural farms to town markets, then returning with small wares to sell to country folk. The Middle English name for such traders was "cadgear"; Scottish dialects rendered the term as "cadger." Etymologists are pretty sure the verb "cadge" was created as a back-formation of "cadger" (which is to say, it was formed by removal of the "-er" suffix). At its most general, cadger meant "carrier," and the verb cadge meant "to carry." More specifically, the verb meant to go about as a cadger or peddler. By the 1800s, it was used when someone who posed as a peddler turned out to be more of a beggar, from which arose our present-day use.

Examples of cadge in a Sentence

She cadged money from her sister.
Recent Examples on the Web Several calves, their fur a chestnut brown that will later turn white, scurried alongside their mothers adorably, cadging an occasional sip of milk. Maria Russo, New York Times, "‘Oh-Oh, Ay-Ay!’ Riding to an Italian Rhythm on the Transumanza," 16 Sep. 2019 Malloch never minded hospital food and would often cadge a lunch and stay on for dinner, delighting in the conversation in-between. Sam Whiting,, "Neil Malloch, SF volunteer historian, found dead in Death Valley," 29 June 2019 One recent morning, a man dropped by Mr. Mishurov’s farmyard office to cadge a bucket of corn for his hens. James Marson, WSJ, "Struggling U.S. Farmers Worry About a Resurgent Russia," 23 Sep. 2018 But their games last night devolved into dissertations on solo play while the other starters hung around the 3-point line like beggars hoping to cadge quarters from the stars. Michael Powell, New York Times, "That Warriors vs. Rockets Epic May Well Be Over," 15 May 2018 Mike, Judith says, would cadge free pizza by offering to climb to the top of his barracks. John Kelly, Washington Post, "In Crystal City, Va., Gold Star families remember the loved ones lost to war," 27 May 2018 What started with independent groups of skaters cadging together D.I.Y. skate parks out of concrete and scrap wood grew into a movement to make the entire city a skate park. Jeff Ihaza, New York Times, "Skateboarders Won," 7 Apr. 2018 Its influence extended well beyond U.S. borders: Fidel Castro was an enthusiastic reader, and his speeches cadged from it, though without giving credit. Glenn Garvin, Anchorage Daily News, "Is the deep state real — and is it really at war with Donald Trump?," 3 Feb. 2018 His long Gershwin gig — signing autographs, reminiscing and lecturing on cruise ships and at concerts, cadging freebies and attention at jazz clubs and cabarets — was too enjoyable and, occasionally, lucrative. David Margolick, New York Times, "Alan Gershwin, Who Claimed a Famous Father, Is Dead at 91," 6 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cadge.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cadge

circa 1812, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cadge

back-formation from Scots cadger carrier, huckster, from Middle English cadgear

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cadge

Time Traveler for cadge

Time Traveler

The first known use of cadge was circa 1812

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cadge

Cite this Entry

“Cadge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cadge


How to pronounce cadge (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cadge

: to persuade someone to give you (something) for free

More from Merriam-Webster on cadge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cadge

Comments on cadge

What made you want to look up cadge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!