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Which came first—the word “scrooge” or Dickens’s character Scrooge?

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Chapter Culture and Recreation

The character Ebenezer Scrooge came first, brought to life in Charles Dickens’s extremely popular story A Christmas Carol, published in 1843. By 1899 the term “scrooge,” meaning a miserly person, had entered into usage.

Dickens (1812–1870) created many memorable characters: Oliver Twist, Tiny Tim, and Little Nell, to name a few. Among the English writer’s most notable works are Oliver Twist (1837–39), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840–41), Bleak House (1852–53), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1860–61). Dickens was popular during his own time and is still popular today—attributable not only to the vivid characters he created, but for his expression of social concerns. Though he grew more pessimistic in his later works, Dickens continued to demonstrate his profound sympathy for the oppressed and his belief in the dignity of man.

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