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[gree-dee] /ˈgri di/
adjective, greedier, greediest.
excessively or inordinately desirous of wealth, profit, etc.; avaricious:
the greedy owners of the company.
having a strong or great desire for food or drink.
keenly desirous; eager (often followed by of or for):
greedy for praise.
Origin of greedy
before 900; Middle English gredy, Old English grædig; cognate with Old Norse grāthugr, Gothic gredags
Related forms
greedily, adverb
greediness, noun
overgreedily, adverb
overgreediness, noun
overgreedy, adjective
ungreedy, adjective
1. grasping, rapacious, selfish. 2. ravenous, voracious, gluttonous, insatiable. 3. covetous, anxious.
1. generous, unselfish.
Synonym Study
1, 3. See avaricious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for greediness
Historical Examples
  • Rgina was greedy, but her pride was greater than her greediness.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Besides, in spite of her greediness, she remained so nice and good!

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • That oath I took with a greediness born of my fear of the death that was impending.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • When the pope heard these words he actually shook all over with greediness.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • It was no disloyalty to Tim; it was no greediness for name and wealth.

    Kilgorman Talbot Baines Reed
  • It is splendid, this indifference of Nature to death, and her greediness for life!

    Beasts, Men and Gods Ferdinand Ossendowski
  • I think that punishment by depriving children of sweets only develops their greediness.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • His scheme appeals at once to benevolence and to greediness.

  • Again Granser's eyes burned with greediness as a large crab was handed to him.

    The Scarlet Plague Jack London
  • Avarice; greediness, and laziness were their characteristics.

British Dictionary definitions for greediness


adjective greedier, greediest
excessively desirous of food or wealth, esp in large amounts; voracious
(postpositive) foll by for. eager (for): a man greedy for success
Derived Forms
greedily, adverb
greediness, noun
Word Origin
Old English grǣdig; related to Old Norse grāthugr, Gothic grēdags hungry, Old High German grātac
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 greediness

Old English grædignes; see greedy + -ness.



Old English grædig (West Saxon), gredig (Anglian) "voracious," also "covetous," from Proto-Germanic *grædagaz (cf. Old Saxon gradag "greedy," Old Norse graðr "greed, hunger," Danish graadig, Dutch gretig, Old High German gratag "greedy"), from *græduz (cf. Gothic gredus "hunger," Old English grædum "eagerly"), possibly from PIE root *gher- "to like, want" (cf. Sanskrit grdh "to be greedy").

In Greek, the word was philargyros, literally "money-loving." A German word for it is habsüchtig, from haben "to have" + sucht "sickness, disease," with sense tending toward "passion for."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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