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mooched; mooching; mooches
intransitive : to move slowly or apathetically : to wander aimlessly
… the rainy afternoons … spent mooching up and down the aisles of small-town pharmacies and hardware stores.Frederick Busch
transitive + intransitive : to get things from another or live off the generosity of others without providing any return payment or benefit : sponge
trying to mooch a cigarette
mooching money off her brother
has been mooching off his parents for years


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plural mooches
US, informal
: one who mooches off others : moocher
The last thing he needed was another mooch … trying to sap his energy and take his time …Steve Pond

Example Sentences

Verb he's always mooching off of his friends, even though he can easily pay his own way I suspect she's mooching around in the background and keeping an eye on us.
Recent Examples on the Web
Where teens mooch away afternoons savoring their content-free existence. Alex Beam, WSJ, 10 June 2022 And some of you freeloaders, who mooch the password to other peoples’ accounts, are partly to blame. Andy Meek, BGR, 21 Apr. 2022 Just mooch off your neighbor's vacuum and clean up the smaller messes with this awesome OXO dustpan. Gear Team, Wired, 10 Aug. 2021 Long story short: Costco memberships start at $60, so your time mooching off its food court for free could be running out. cleveland, 24 Feb. 2020 Even a baby left to itself on the dungy farmyard ground, with cows mooching around, seems O.K. Hatidze, typically, welcomes these intruders and befriends the young. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 19 July 2019 Over time, Koonin argues, the parasitic genetic elements remained unable to replicate on their own and evolved into modern-day viruses that mooch off their cellular hosts. Quanta Magazine, 10 July 2014 In other words, viruses mooch off cells, so without cells, viruses can’t exist. Quanta Magazine, 10 July 2014 Much of Wrangell looked unchanged since 1899: false-front buildings and clapboard churches, including one where Muir had mooched a night sleeping on the floor his very first night on Alaska soil. Mark Adams, New York Times, 21 May 2018 See More

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

Word History



probably from French dialect muchier to hide, lurk

First Known Use


1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1914, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mooch was in 1851

Dictionary Entries Near mooch

Cite this Entry

“Mooch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to wander about
moocher noun
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