Wednesday, December 26

Scrooge and Grinch

Are you a scrooge? Or are you a grinch?

Have you heard either of these 2 words?

First, Scrooge...

A “scrooge” is a person who hates spending money. This means that even though he has enough, he's not generous, and he uses or spends as little money as possible. It might also mean that he’s selfish.

If you want positive words, you'd better say "economical" (Adjective) or "thrifty" (Adjective).  

On the other hand, similar words to "scrooge" are “miser” (Noun) and “stingy” (Adjective). These are all negative. 


My grandfather is such a scrooge / miser.

My company is too stingy to give me a bonus.

You might know somebody around you who's a scrooge or a miser. And if anybody uses the word “stingy” for you, now you know what it means.

The word “scrooge” is especially useful this Christmas season. Aside from the meaning of this word, what’s interesting is its history.

The History of “Scrooge”

This word first came to be used around 1899. It came from the classic story “The Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.

The main character of The Christmas Carol was an old man by the name of Ebenezer Scrooge. Ebenezer Scrooge was a mean and bitter man who lived during Victorian era London. He hated Christmas and its warm spirit.

Scrooge is flying in this poster.
copyright: Walt Disney Pictures 

But after he was visited by 3 ghosts, his personality changed and he became a kinder and more generous person.

The Christmas Carol

Have you read the great novella “The Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens? If you haven’t, you should. Especially around Christmas time.

This book should be part of your basic reading list. Or, if you prefer, there are so many different adaptations of this story; from stage-plays to movies.

If you enjoy the modern customs of Christmas: family gathering, Christmas food and drink, and the general spirit of giving, you should know that Charles Dickens’ book helped make all of these.

The original book “The Christmas Carol” was written by Charles Dickens from October to the beginning of December, 1843. At that time, the British people were experiencing nostalgia* for their forgotten Christmas traditions, and new customs such as the Christmas tree and greeting cards were just starting.

*nostalgia = this means that they miss or they want to bring back their traditions

The Christmas Carol was so successful that it helped shape the Western version of Christmas that's familiar to us today.

Scrooge the Duck

There have been so many different versions of Charles Dickens’ famous character, Ebenezer Scrooge, whether live action or animated. 

In fact, the latest 3D movie adaptation of The Christmas Carol stars Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge (see the poster above).

Another character of Disney was named after Ebenezer Scrooge. Walt Disney's character is a talking duck called Uncle Scrooge (the uncle of Donald Duck). In the beginning, Uncle Scrooge was greedy for money like Ebenezer Scrooge.

Uncle Scrooge was also known for his signature action: diving into money.

copyright: Disney Comics

Next, the Grinch...

The second word that has entered the English language from a book is “grinch.”

A “grinch” means a person who is mean, unfriendly, and stops other people from having fun.

This word was originally the name of the bad guy in the children’s story, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” by author and cartoonist  Dr. Seuss.

Just like Ebenezer Scrooge, the Grinch hated Christmas. He has also appeared plenty of times on stage and on TV; as an animated character or even a puppet and a video-game character. But the version that you probably know was also performed by Jim Carrey in 2000.

copyright: Imagine Entertainment

Dr.Seuss’ character “The Grinch” was likely influenced by Charles Dickens’ “Scrooge”. 

In sum, 2 names came from stories about Christmas, then they became words in the English language. Now their meanings have changed and gone beyond their original Christmas meanings. 

Geseende Kerfees!
С Рождеством!
Feliz Navidad! 
God Jul! 
Sheng Dan Jie Kuai Le! 
Merry Christmas! 

Keep on learning !

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