cov·​et ˈkə-vət How to pronounce covet (audio)
coveted; coveting; covets

transitive verb

: to wish for earnestly
covet an award
: to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably
The king's brother coveted the throne.

intransitive verb

: to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another
covetable adjective
coveter noun
covetingly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for covet

desire, wish, want, crave, covet mean to have a longing for.

desire stresses the strength of feeling and often implies strong intention or aim.

desires to start a new life

wish sometimes implies a general or transient longing especially for the unattainable.

wishes for permanent world peace

want specifically suggests a felt need or lack.

wants to have a family

crave stresses the force of physical appetite or emotional need.

craves sweets

covet implies strong envious desire.

covets his rise to fame

Examples of covet in a Sentence

The oldest of the students, she had become a confidante of Fern's and she alone was allowed to call her by her first name. It was not a privilege the others coveted. Edward P. Jones, The Known World, 2003
The only Commandment I'd breached, besides killing that bird with my air rifle, was that I had coveted Bobby Entrekin's electric train. It blew real smoke. Mine didn't. Lewis Grizzard, Reader's Digest, January 1992
He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, 1876
His religion warns against coveting material goods. I've been coveting that sleek sports car in the showroom for some time now.
Recent Examples on the Web Black Friday isn’t technically until next week, but most stores have already dropped droves of deals — and some coveted picks from best-selling brands are already selling out. Claire Harmeyer, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2023 Hunter then leads us back in time through the plot turns and betrayals that result in Theresa’s death, with a focus on her best friend, Jackie, who covets Theresa’s life — and husband. Jill Pellettieri, Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2023 As perhaps the biggest national brand in college football, the Irish would be coveted by Holiday Bowl officials for the Dec. 27 game at Petco Park. Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Nov. 2023 In truth, much like Lenin and Hitler before him, Putin covets Ukraine’s wealth. James K. Glassman, Fortune, 31 Oct. 2023 Its leaders are courted at flashy summits by foreign powers that covet their huge reserves of the minerals needed to make electric cars and solar panels. Declan Walsh, New York Times, 27 Oct. 2023 Looked down upon by the New York aristocracy and seeking suitable husbands, five young nouveau riche women high-tail it to London, where they and their financial resources are coveted by title-rich but cash-poor families. Chris Vognar, New York Times, 8 Nov. 2023 This gloss hydrates and gives lips that coveted full look. Poppy Morgan, Rolling Stone, 8 Nov. 2023 And the fact that these things still happen, this darkness is still out there, people still covet each other’s countries and their own invasions, and all these things just makes the actual fundamental message of the book more important. Brande Victorian, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'covet.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English coveiten, from Anglo-French coveiter, from Vulgar Latin *cupidietare, from Latin cupiditat-, cupiditas desire, from cupidus desirous, from cupere to desire

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of covet was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near covet

Cite this Entry

“Covet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


cov·​et ˈkəv-ət How to pronounce covet (audio)
: to wish for greatly or with envy
covet another's success
covet a friend's possessions
coveter noun
covetingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on covet

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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