\ ˈmüch How to pronounce mooch (audio) \
mooched; mooching; mooches

Definition of mooch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 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
2 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


plural mooches

Definition of mooch (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Synonyms for mooch

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of mooch in a Sentence

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: Verb Long story short: Costco memberships start at $60, so your time mooching off its food court for free could be running out. cleveland, "Costco Food Court: 5 top items to try before it becomes members-only," 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, "Does “The Lion King” Need C.G.I.?," 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, "Hints of Life’s Start Found in a Giant Virus," 10 July 2014 In other words, viruses mooch off cells, so without cells, viruses can’t exist. Quanta Magazine, "Hints of Life’s Start Found in a Giant Virus," 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, "A D.I.Y. Trip Through Alaska’s Inside Passage," 21 May 2018 Most wedding crashers will mooch a couple glasses of wine and maybe an appetizer. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Wedding crasher steals newlywed's gifts, evades police," 3 June 2018 This idea, that American allies are mooching off the United States, has political as well as economic implications. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Why Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs on US allies are so dangerous," 31 May 2018 With his two gun dogs mooching before a wood fire, Wood betrays a certain weariness of the Beaminster rumor mill, which never stops turning. David Usborne, Town & Country, "The Mysterious Case of the Parnham House Fire," 29 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of mooch


1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1914, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mooch


probably from French dialect muchier to hide, lurk

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Cite this Entry

“Mooch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of mooch

US, informal + disapproving : to ask for and get things from other people without paying for them or doing anything for them

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