View definitions for freeloader


noun as in someone who takes advantage


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is another word for freeloader?

The word freeloader is typically applied to someone who is thought to be unfairly taking advantage of others by refusing to be self-sufficient when they could be. (Children usually wouldn’t be called freeloaders because they’re typically not expected to pay rent, for example.)

Synonyms for freeloader that are even more informal include sponger and moocher, or its short form, mooch. (See the next section for more on the difference between freeloader and moocher.)

Synonyms that are even more negative are leech and parasite.

Freeloader and these synonyms and others are sometimes used in an extremely derogatory way in reference to people who are the recipients of charity or government assistance. Such use is criticized as offensive due to suggesting that they are somehow stealing from others in society due to not paying their “fair share.”

What is the difference between freeloader and moocher?

Moocher and freeloader are often applied to the same kinds of people, but they have different shades of meaning, especially when it comes to the level of what’s being accepted or requested without payment.

Let’s compare two different roommates. A roommate who’s always asking for (or just taking) relatively small thingssome of your snacks, a slice of the pizza you just ordered, subway fare, small sums of money, free rides—would most likely be called a moocher. In contrast, a roommate who for some reason lives in the place without paying or contributing to rent would more likely be called a freeloader. Freeloader is especially applied to someone who’s living rent-free and getting other significant benefits from the arrangement, such as free food, without ever paying.

Apart from meaning, moocher is also more likely to be used in a milder or even affectionate way. You might even teasingly call a friend a moocher, but freeloader is usually reserved as a harsh insult.

What is the opposite (antonym) of freeloader?

Freeloader doesn’t have a direct opposite, especially as a noun, but descriptive words that capture the opposite of its implication of reliance on others are self-sufficient, self-reliant, and independent.

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On this page you'll find 14 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to freeloader, such as: barnacle, leech, moocher, parasite, and sponge.

From Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.