Simple Definition of avarice
: a strong desire to have or get money
Examples of avarice in a sentence
Adherence to the Baldwin model is usually more a sin of thoughtlessness and convenience than of conscious avarice, though it is always an appropriation of moral power, a stealing of thunder. —Shelby Steele, Harper's, November 2002
… a company of artists, among them the young Thomas Nast, seated at rows of desks in a high-ceilinged studio overlooking the avarice and deviltry walking in and out of New York's City Hall. —Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, June 2000
Unlike the rest of us, stuck in our jobs, choking on carbon monoxide, heeling around on overpriced shoes, recovering from a decade of avarice, Chip works and he's tanned and happy. —Peter Wilkinson, Rolling Stone, 11-25 July 1991
Nor was private avarice their besetting sin although they were as subject as most men to the stings of ambition. —Barbara W. Tuchman, The March of Folly, 1984
The corporate world is plagued by avarice and a thirst for power.
He was driven by avarice.
Word History of avarice
A more formal synonym for greed, avarice has a long if uncomplicated history in English. Chaucer in his 14th-century The Parson's Tale compared avarice with covetise, a now obsolete word that means "covetousness" ("Covetise is to covet such things as thou hast not; and avarice is to withhold and keep such things as thou hast, without rightful need"—743), and Shakespeare uses it in Macbeth ("With this there grows / In my most ill-composed affection such / A stanchless avarice that, were I king, / I should cut off the nobles for their lands, / Desire his jewels and this other's house: / And my more-having would be as a sauce / To make me hunger more"—IV.iii.76-82).
Avarice has also appeared in various translations of the Bible, usually in verses that describe the attributes of those who do not follow God, and has historically been listed as one of the seven deadly sins.
Origin and Etymology of avarice
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin avaritia, from avarus avaricious, from avēre to crave — more at avid
First Known Use: 14th century
AVARICE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up avarice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).