Tight-fisted or tightwad

Hello everybody, Can you help me? I’v been beating my brains out!! But I can’t understand the difference between :‘tightwad’ and’ tight - fisted’
Many many thanks
Ariadna :roll:

Hi Ariadna,

Please don’t beat your brains out! The difference is: ‘tightwad’ is an American/Canadian English expression and a noun that means someone who doesn’t like to spend any money - ‘tightfisted’ is an adjective describing someone who again doesn’t like to spend any money. The idea comes from keeping your fist/hands closed so that you don’t open them up to get money from your wallet/handbag. In fact ‘tight’ on its own can also describe the same thing. There is a character in a novel by Charles Dickens called ‘A Christmas Carol’ whose name is Scrooge who is well known for holding on to his money. This name has gone into the language and to call someone a scrooge is the same as ‘tightwad.’

Take care of those brains


Hi Alan! It was extremely interesting .
Thank you . Have a nice week.
Ariadna. :slight_smile:

Funnily (or sadly) enough, the mental picture I always get at the word ‘tightfisted’ is of a big, pudgy, hermetically closed fist, knuckles white with the effort of clenching a handful of money without ever dropping any, under any circumstances whatsoever. So it turns out that my character is even more of a scrooge :slight_smile: (they would never dream of buying a purse – it’s far too expensive!).


Wad has the same idea of a large pack of notes of money in British English. Remember also that film starring Clint Eastwood called a Fistful of Dollars, which somehow conveys a related idea.