Word of the Day

cupidity

audio pronunciation
May 18, 2009
noun
\kyoo-PID-uh-tee\
Definition
1
: inordinate desire for wealth : avarice, greed
2
: strong desire : lust
Examples
"This time, developing-world economies far from the pinstriped epicentres of mass cupidity are suffering massive collateral damage as the global downturn cuts heavily into demand for their agricultural and resource commodities." (David Olive, The Toronto Star, March 29, 2009)
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Did You Know?
From its verb "cupere" ("to desire") Latin derived three nouns which have passed with minimal modification into English. "Cupiditas" meant "yearning" and "desire"; English borrowed this as "cupidity," which originally in the 15th century was synonymous with "lust." (The "greed" meaning of "cupidity" developed very soon after this other now-archaic meaning.) Latin "cupido" started out as a near synonym of "cupiditas," but it came to stand for the personification of specifically carnal desire, the counterpart of Greek "eros"; this is the source of our familiar (and rather domesticated) Cupid. A strengthened form of "cupere" -- "concupiscere," meaning "to desire ardently" -- yielded the noun "concupiscentia" in the Late Latin of the Christian church. "Concupiscentia" came specially to denote sexual desire, a meaning reflected in the English version "concupiscence," meaning "sexual desire."
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