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[av-id] /ˈæv ɪd/
showing great enthusiasm for or interest in:
an avid moviegoer.
extremely desirous (often followed by for or sometimes of):
avid for pleasure; avid of power.
Antonyms: disdainful, loath.
Origin of avid
1760-70; < French avide < Latin avidus, equivalent to av(ēre) ‘to crave’ + -idus -id4
Related forms
avidly, adverb
avidness, noun
unavid, adjective
unavidly, adverb
unavidness, noun
Synonym Study
Avid, eager, keen all share the sense of strongly desirous. Avid suggests a desire akin to greed, so strong as to be insatiable: driven by an avid need for fame and recognition. Eager implies a desire that is strong and impatient but less than overpowering: eager to try his hand at new tasks. Keen carries a sense of zest and active, alert desire: an amateur painter, ever keen to try new techniques.
Word story
The word avid is relatively new, coming into the language in the 18th century from the French word avide, which comes from the Latin word avidus. That word, in turn, comes from the Latin verb avēre, a multifaceted word that is translated as “to crave, long for,” but incorporates many levels of desire, from eagerness to hunger to outright lust.
As used in English, the sense of physical craving or hunger is very rare, as in this 1866 translation of a line from Ovid's Metamorphoses: “Or dragon avid for his prey.” Instead, we tend to use avid synonymously with “intensely eager.” What avid lends to “eager” is the added dimension of intensification by either enthusiasm (an avid fan of indie films) or desire, which can sometimes morph into greed (avid for company; avid for gold). An excess of any of these qualities may lead to darker territories, as shown by this 1953 quote from The New Yorker: “He was writing for a public avid for gruesome details.”
Related Quotations
“Avid readers are enchanted by meaning, which is available chiefly in books.“
—Mason Cooley, City Aphorisms, Fourth Selection (1987)
“Augustine's…avid fondness for theatrical ‘spectacles.’“
—Robert J. O'Connell, Images of Conversion in St. Augustine's Confessions (1996)
“Avid of gold, yet greedier of renown“
—Robert Southey, “Covadonga“ The Poetical Works of Robert Southey: Volume 9 (1838)
“He was convivial, bawdy, robustly avid for pleasure.“
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Rich Boy (1926) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for avid
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He cast a glance about him, his eye, avid with curiosity, held rigidly in restraint.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • The "brass hats," as Blake had foreseen, were avid for details.

  • There was much traders' blood in Venice, and, trader-like, she was avid of possessions.

    The Life of Cesare Borgia Raphael Sabatini
  • She flung herself on him with the avid girlishness of a Bengal tiger.

    Pagan Passions Gordon Randall Garrett
  • The reading public is avid of good books, but it does not hear about them.


    Christopher Morley
British Dictionary definitions for avid


very keen; enthusiastic: an avid reader
(postpositive; often foll by for or of) eager (for); desirous (of); greedy (for): avid for revenge
Derived Forms
avidly, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from Latin avidus, from avēre to long for
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for avid

1769, from French avide (15c.), from Latin avidus "longing eagerly, desirous, greedy," from avere "to desire eagerly." Also in part a back-formation from avidity. Related: Avidly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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