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[kuhv-i-tuh s] /ˈkʌv ɪ təs/
inordinately or wrongly desirous of wealth or possessions; greedy.
eagerly desirous.
Origin of covetous
1250-1300; Middle English coveitous < Anglo-French, Old French; see covet, -ous
Related forms
covetously, adverb
covetousness, noun
noncovetous, adjective
noncovetously, adverb
noncovetousness, noun
overcovetous, adjective
overcovetously, adverb
overcovetousness, noun
uncovetous, adjective
uncovetously, adverb
uncovetousness, noun
1. grasping, rapacious.
Synonym Study
1. See avaricious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for covetousness
Historical Examples
  • Dishonesty has its source in the covetousness and greed of the human heart.

  • In fact, such a deed might savour of jealousy and covetousness.

  • It was not covetousness altogether which had prompted him to do that; the reward was only an incident.

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson
  • The covetousness or the malignity which saddens me when I ascribe it to society, is my own.

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Envy and covetousness begat injustice, and injustice disloyalty.

  • And when ye took the crown of gold your sin was covetousness and theft.

  • The vice of covetousness, of all others, enters deepest into the soul.

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
  • This sentence says that covetousness is one of the other vices.

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
  • The emphasis in Proverbs seems to be on envy and covetousness, not on magical evil.


    William Graham Sumner
  • At that, pride and covetousness struggled for first place in him.

    The Rich Little Poor Boy Eleanor Gates
British Dictionary definitions for covetousness


(usually postpositive) and foll by of. jealously eager for the possession of something (esp the property of another person)
Derived Forms
covetously, adverb
covetousness, noun
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 covetousness



mid-13c., from Old French coveitos (12c., Modern French convoiteux) "desirous, covetous," from Vulgar Latin *cupiditosus, from Latin cupiditas (see covet). Related: Covetously; covetousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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