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A miser is a person who is reluctant to spend, sometimes to the point of forgoing even basic comforts and some necessities, in order to hoard money or other possessions.[1] Although the word is sometimes used loosely to characterise anyone who is mean with their money, if such behaviour is not accompanied by taking delight in what is saved, it is not properly miserly.


  • And were it not that they are loath to lay out money on a rope, they would be hanged forthwith, and sometimes die to save charges.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part I, Section II. Memb. 3. Subsec. 12.
  • A mere madness, to live like a wretch, and die rich.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part I, Section II. Memb. 3. Subsec. 13.
  • Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill;
    Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still.
  • Quærit, et inventis miser abstinet, ac timet uti.
    • The miser acquires, yet fears to use his gains.
    • Horace, Ars Poetica (18 BC), 170.
  • His heart is like a maggot-eaten nut:
    There's nothing in it ; but 'tis closely shut.
  • He sat among his bags, and, with a look
    Which hell might be ashamed of, drove the poor
    Away unalmsed; and midst abundance died—
    Sorest of evils!—died of utter want.
  • 'Tis strange the miser should his cares employ
    To gain those riches he can ne'er enjoy;
    Is it less strange the prodigal should waste
    His wealth to purchase what he ne'er can taste?

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 517.
  • If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth, Poor man, said I, you pay too much for your whistle.
  • Abiturus illuc priores abierunt,
    Quid mente cæca torques spiritum?
    Tibi dico, avare.
    • Since you go where all have gone before, why do you torment your disgraceful life with such mean ambitions, O miser?
    • Phaedrus, Fables, IV. 19. 16.
  • Tam deest avaro quod habet, quam quod non habet.
    • The miser is as much in want of what he has, as of what he has not.
    • Syrus, Maxims.
  • Misers are evil people,

they turn away and disregard others.

    • Sirach 14:8 (New American Bible Revised Edition)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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