noun av·a·rice \ˈa-və-rəs, ˈav-rəs\

Definition of avarice

  1. :  excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain :  greediness, cupidity

Examples of avarice in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. … 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. The corporate world is plagued by avarice and a thirst for power.

  6. He was driven by avarice.

Recent Examples of avarice from the web

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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: 13th century

AVARICE Defined for English Language Learners


noun av·a·rice \ˈa-və-rəs, ˈav-rəs\

Definition of avarice for English Language Learners

  • : a strong desire to have or get money

AVARICE Defined for Kids


noun av·a·rice \ˈa-və-rəs, ˈav-rəs\

Definition of avarice for Students

  1. :  strong desire for riches :  greed

Seen and Heard

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feeling or affected by lethargy

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