covetous


covetous
covetous, greedy, acquisitive, grasping, avaricious mean having or manifesting a strong desire for possessions, especially material possessions.
Covetous implies inordinateness of desire; very often, with allusion to the Ten Commandments, it implies longing for something that is rightfully another's
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covetous of Shakespeare's beauty— Cowper

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first settlers brought fine hunting dogs ... of which the Indians were so covetous that a day was set each year when settlers traded dogs— Amer. Guide Series: Va.

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It is, however, used with derogatory intent or effect only when envy is implied or wrongful means of acquiring possession are suggested
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is not thy kindness subtle, covetous . . . expecting in return twenty for one?— Shak.

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Greedy emphasizes absence of restraint in desire; it is a censorious term only when the object of longing is evil either in itself or in immoderation, or cannot be possessed without harm to oneself or to others
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greedy for gold

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exploitation [of provinces] by greedy proconsuls— Buchan

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he loved learning; he was greedy of all writings and sciences— Coulton

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Acquisitive implies not only eagerness to possess but the capacity for acquiring and retaining what is desired. Thus, an acquisitive mind is not only greedy for knowledge but is capable of absorbing it in large amounts; the acquisitive classes of society not only covet possessions but have the means whereby they can constantly add to their possessions
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one of those strenuous, acquisitive women— Weeks

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Grasping implies eager-ness and capacity to acquire wealth and selfishness in its acquisition and often suggests use of wrongful or unfair means
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people who are hard, grasping . . . and always ready to take advantage of their neighbors, become very rich— Shaw

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Avaricious also implies eagerness and capacity to acquire wealth, but especially wealth in a form (as money) which can be hoarded. It, more than any of the others, emphasizes extreme stinginess
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an unremitting, avaricious thrift— Wordsworth

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Analogous words: *envious, jealous: desirous, lustful (see corresponding nouns at DESIRE): avid, athirst, *eager: rapacious, ravening, gluttonous, ravenous, *voracious
Contrasted words: self-denying, self-abnegating (see corresponding nouns at RENUNCIATION): renouncing, abjuring, forswearing (see ABJURE)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:
, (usually in a bad sense, though sometimes in a good sense), , , ,


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Covetous — Cov et*ous (k?v ?t ?s), a. [OF. coveitos, F. convoiteux. See {Covet}, v. t.] 1. Very desirous; eager to obtain; used in a good sense. [Archaic] [1913 Webster] Covetous of wisdom and fair virtue. Shak. [1913 Webster] Covetous death bereaved us all …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • covetous — mid 13c., from O.Fr. coveitos (12c., Mod.Fr. convoiteux) desirous, covetous, from V.L. *cupiditosus, from L. cupiditas (see COVET (Cf. covet)). Related: Covetousness …   Etymology dictionary

  • covetous — index eager, illiberal, insatiable, jealous, mercenary Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • covetous — [adj] greedy; very desirous acquisitive, avaricious, avid, close fisted, eager, ensurient, envious, gluttonous, grabby, grasping, green eyed*, grudging, hogging, itchy*, jealous, keen, mercenary, piggish*, prehensile, rapacious, ravenous, selfish …   New thesaurus

  • covetous — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ longing to possess something. DERIVATIVES covetously adverb covetousness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • covetous — [kuv′ət əs] adj. [ME coveitous < OFr] tending to covet; greedy; avaricious SYN. GREEDY covetously adv. covetousness n …   English World dictionary

  • covetous — adjective Date: 13th century 1. marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another s possessions 2. having a craving for possession < covetous of power > • covetously adverb • covetousness noun Synonyms …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • covetous — [[t]kʌ̱vɪtəs[/t]] ADJ GRADED (disapproval) A covetous person has a strong desire to possess something, especially something that belongs to another person. [FORMAL] Even here a red Lamborghini Diablo sports car attracts covetous stares …   English dictionary

  • covetous — adj. covetous of * * * [ kʌvɪtəs] covetousof …   Combinatory dictionary

  • covetous — cov|et|ous [ˈkʌvıtəs] adj formal having a very strong desire to have something that someone else has ▪ They began to cast covetous eyes on their neighbours fields. >covetously adv >covetousness n [U] …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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