miser: “A wretch covetous to extremity,” according to Samuel Johnson, “who in wealth makes himself miserable by the fear of poverty.”
ninjo: 人情 Japanese for human compassion, as compared with social obligations (see giri).
noblesse oblige: literally, “noble rank entails responsibility.” Earliest use in English, 1837. Honoré de Balzac referred to it in 1836 as “un vieux mot.”
At Lapham’s Quarterly, senior editor Leopold Froehlich created a brief global glossary of philanthropy, using language and culture as the lens through which we understand giving.