‘Scrooge‘ – not a word in everyday use, unless we have a very mean relative or friend, and a word that is perhaps drifting to the sidelines of the language a little. But at this time of the year you see the word a lot more. Firstly, it is the name of the main character in our recently published version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol … more about that story in a minute. But Forbes magazine has also just made ‘scrooge‘ a word that more people will be seeing at the moment. They have voted Scrooge McDuck in at the 6th place on their list of the top 15 wealthiest fictional characters. Here’s his profile in the Forbes magazine:
No 6 McDuck, Scrooge
Net Worth: $8.2 billion
Marital Status: Single
Hometown: Duckburg, U.S.A.
Education: Cluck U dropout.
Planet’s wealthiest poultry in hiding due to fear of bird flu. Thought to be in “money bin,” five-story tower in Duckburg that is world’s largest repository of gold coins. As adolescent, moved to American West from native Scotland and amassed fortune in gold and copper. Keeps most of his money in bullion. Known to enjoy swimming in money. Literally. Likely heirs Huey, Dewey and Louie (grand-nephews) now living alone in Duckburg mansion. Absent Scrooge’s supervision, Dewey spotted canoodling with Parrot Hilton. Reportedly wrote nephew Donald, a deckhand in U.S. Navy, back into his will. Member since 1947. — Matthew Herper Excerpted from Forbes Magazine Website
You might notice that Forbes has set Scrooge’s wealth at $8.2 billion but that a little research sets it at one multiplujillion nine obsquatumatillion, six hundred and twenty-three dollars and sixty-two cents. Perhaps Forbes couldn’t track all of the assets kept in Scrooge’s Swiss bank accounts. And they’ve left out of their short bio his most important characteristic and the one that gives him his name – he is a very, very mean duck with his money and prefers to hang on to it and watch it accumulate rather than spend it.
Charles Dickens’ Scrooge
Scrooge gets his name from Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character in A Christmas Story, which you can read and listen to free of charge, and has much of the original Scrooge’s personality but has been perhaps ‘disneyfied‘ into someone a bit more lovable than the Dickens character.
But Ebenezer Scrooge didn’t just pass his name to a wealthy cartoon duck he also gave English a new noun:
Informal penny pincher.
So you could say, ‘My father is a real scrooge, he never spends a cent and keeps it all in the bank.’ or ‘Don’t be such a scrooge! I’m only asking you to lend me 50 cents!‘
Not perhaps the most useful word to learn but still, at this time of the year, you wouldn’t really want to hear it directed at you. So, give a little and avoid being called a scrooge!