verb cov·et \ ˈkə-vət \
|Updated on: 12 Aug 2018

Definition of covet

coveted; coveting; covets
1 : to wish for earnestly
  • covet an award
2 : to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably
  • The king's brother coveted the throne.
: to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another


play \ˈkə-və-tə-bəl\ adjective


play \ˈkə-və-tər\ noun


play \ˈkə-və-tiŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of covet in a Sentence

  1. 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. JonesThe Known World2003
  2. 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 GrizzardReader's DigestJanuary 1992
  3. 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 TwainTom Sawyer1876
  4. His religion warns against coveting material goods.

  5. I've been coveting that sleek sports car in the showroom for some time now.

Recent Examples of covet from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'covet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of covet

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

COVET Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of covet for English Language Learners

  • : to want (something that you do not have) very much

COVET Defined for Kids


verb cov·et \ ˈkəv-ət \

Definition of covet for Students

coveted; coveting
: to wish for greatly or with envy
  • I admit I covet success.
  • It's wrong to covet a friend's happiness.

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excessive admiration or flattery

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