excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.

Origin of greed

First recorded in 1600–10; back formation from greedy
Related formsgreed·less, adjectivegreed·some, adjective

Synonyms for greed

avarice, avidity, cupidity, covetousness; voracity, ravenousness, rapacity. Greed, greediness denote an excessive, extreme desire for something, often more than one's proper share. Greed means avid desire for gain or wealth (unless some other application is indicated) and is definitely uncomplimentary in implication: His greed drove him to exploit his workers. Greediness, when unqualified, suggests a craving for food; it may, however, be applied to all avid desires, and need not be always uncomplimentary: greediness for knowledge, fame, praise.

Antonyms for greed



verb (used with or without object), greed, gree·ing. British Dialect.

Origin of gree

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at gree2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for greed

Contemporary Examples of greed

Historical Examples of greed

  • Women were like she wolves for greed when they had a brood of whelps.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Dishonesty has its source in the covetousness and greed of the human heart.

  • There was nothing of the Warden's estimate in these eyes; nothing of cruelty nor deceit nor greed.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • Greed—mere greed—for I do not need this money which may destroy us all!

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • His greed at dinner, too, was closely in keeping with the greed of Monsieur Rigaud at breakfast.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for greed



excessive consumption of or desire for food; gluttony
excessive desire, as for wealth or power
Derived Formsgreedless, adjective

Word Origin for greed

C17: back formation from greedy



noun Scot archaic

superiority or victory
the prize for a victory

Word Origin for gree

C14: from Old French gré, from Latin gradus step



noun obsolete

goodwill; favour
satisfaction for an insult or injury

Word Origin for gree

C14: from Old French gré, from Latin grātum what is pleasing; see grateful



verb grees, greeing or greed

archaic, or dialect to come or cause to come to agreement or harmony

Word Origin for gree

C14: variant of agree
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

Word Origin and History for greed

c.1600, a back-formation from greedy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper