cov·​et·​ous ˈkə-və-təs How to pronounce covetous (audio)
: marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another's possessions
He looked at his boss's new car with covetous eyes.
: having a craving for possession
covetous of power
covetously adverb
covetousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for covetous

covetous, greedy, acquisitive, grasping, avaricious mean having or showing a strong desire for especially material possessions.

covetous implies inordinate desire often for another's possessions.

covetous of his brother's country estate

greedy stresses lack of restraint and often of discrimination in desire.

greedy for status symbols

acquisitive implies both eagerness to possess and ability to acquire and keep.

an eagerly acquisitive mind

grasping adds to covetous and greedy an implication of selfishness and often suggests unfair or ruthless means.

a hard grasping businesswoman who cheated her associates

avaricious implies obsessive acquisitiveness especially of money and strongly suggests stinginess.

an avaricious miser

Example Sentences

The expensive car drew many covetous looks. one aggressive bargain hunter rushed to make a covetous grab for the last marked-down TV
Recent Examples on the Web Carol Foyler, who lives in Akron, Ohio, was openly covetous of the U.K.’s malignant narcissist. Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, 24 Oct. 2022 New-car temptation will come in many forms—with electricity, old-fashioned gas grunt, or a combo of both—to your covetous heart and, manufacturers hope, your garage. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, 10 Oct. 2022 Once Lexington wins his first race, Harry’s ownership gives covetous White horsemen the necessary leverage to take the animal from him. Maggie Shipstead, Washington Post, 17 June 2022 That is, unless covetous bidders don’t have something else in mind. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 23 May 2022 In her grief, Lennie abandons her musical pursuits (leaving her school-band solos to the covetous queen bee Rachel, played by Julia Schlaepfer). Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 10 Feb. 2022 Whatever their covetous neighbors say, Taiwan and Ukraine have the essential features of independent nationhood. Christopher Demuth, WSJ, 4 Feb. 2022 Conventional wisdom is that corporations cannot innovate because executives are too covetous of their profits to risk pursuing unproven ideas. Andy Binns, Fortune, 31 Jan. 2022 In Punjab, even under the British, families like Sohel’s kept up connections in the underworld, just to make sure that covetous eyes were not unduly drawn to their property and treasure. Cressida Leysho, The New Yorker, 31 Aug. 2021 See More

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

Word History


see covet

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of covetous was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near covetous

Cite this Entry

“Covetous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


cov·​et·​ous ˈkəv-ət-əs How to pronounce covetous (audio)
: marked by a too eager desire especially for another's possessions
covetously adverb
covetousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on covetous

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