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 These championship rings are coveted, and the winning players go down in history. Aj Willingham, CNN, 8 Feb. 2024 Toronto’s Bruce Brown, another player the Lakers have coveted, also is expected to land a first. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 8 Feb. 2024 Still, in a city starved for affordable housing, a NYCHA apartment is coveted: Hundreds of thousands of people crowd waiting lists. Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2024 Murray is coveted around the league as the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline nears, but sources told The Sacramento Bee the Kings have been unwilling to include him in those discussions. Jason Anderson, Sacramento Bee, 2 Feb. 2024 Still, Paramount has assets that any media investor would covet. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 10 Jan. 2024 Every transfer Cronin coveted last year besides Stefanovic ended up at another school, leading to an exceedingly young batch of Bruins that includes seven freshmen and three sophomores. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 2024 Many Republicans covet a spot on the presidential ticket with Trump as a chance to serve in a high-profile role that has elevated many ambitious politicians from relative obscurity. Jill Colvin, Fortune, 22 Jan. 2024 Large numbers of American mink—coveted for their fur, used to make coats, bags and other luxury items—were brought to the United Kingdom decades ago by traders. Christian Thorsberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Jan. 2024 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 24 Feb. 2024.

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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