Some words are appealing in and off themselves. Such words possess an aesthetic that’s magnetic, maybe symphonic.
“Mooch” is one such word.
For the unfamiliar, “mooch” s either a verb referring to asking or obtaining something without paying for it; or it’s a noun that describes a beggar or, less generously, a scoundrel.
Despite its seemingly unsavory definitions, the word is attractive to say – it rolls off the tongue easily and pleasurably – and, even, to look at.
Though one might object to being labeled as such, “Mooch” has a kind of avuncular connotation. Perhaps because its melodious sound cannot carry any malevolence or mean-spiritedness.
I recall hearing the word often as a youth. And then it disappeared for decades – from my own vocabulary as well as that of everyone else I was around.
Maybe it’s because I left New Jersey. And I’m not suggesting the Garden State is somehow home to Moochers.
Nor do I deny it.
The word didn’t return until just a few years ago. When I asked one of my students what she was going to do after graduation, the perky redhead (who was not from NJ) retorted: “Probably go to Washington and mooch off my aunt.”
Precisely what her B.S. degree prepared her for!
While disappointed in her career aspiration, I was delighted to be reintroduced to the word.
“Mooch off my aunt.” Indeed!
Why not? As long as you can get away with it!
“Mooch” isn’t a euphemism for anything else. It’s pretty straight-forward and unambiguous. And despite its begging dimension, endearing nonetheless.
Unlike ”troubled,” for instance. “Troubled” is a euphemism-du-jour. It’s a way of soft-pedaling a situation that avoids upsetting and embraces a Never-Neverland of lollipops and sundaes.
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