cov·​et·​ous | \ ˈkə-və-təs How to pronounce covetous (audio) \

Definition of covetous

1 : marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another's possessions He looked at his boss's new car with covetous eyes.
2 : having a craving for possession covetous of power

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from covetous

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 trader who cheated the natives avaricious implies obsessive acquisitiveness especially of money and strongly suggests stinginess. an avaricious miser

Examples of covetous in a Sentence

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

The elders—Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon—are covetous of their privacy. Christian Lorentzen, Harper's magazine, "Like This or Die," 10 Apr. 2019 This, combined with America’s failure to build its own fortified islands in the South China Sea and line their shores with a gauntlet of antishipping missiles, will amount to the de facto surrender of international waters to a covetous competitor. Mark Helprin, WSJ, "Defining Defense Down," 11 Oct. 2018 Yet there is another tradition of interpretation that has unfortunately proven more prevalent: that for which the Bible serves as a source of covetous power. Jonathan L. Walton, Time, "Why Authoritarians Love to Quote This Bible Passage," 22 June 2018 His covetous attention to their wealth, though useful, can be awkward. The Economist, "Insecurity complexGulf states fear being encircled by Iran and abandoned by America," 21 June 2018 The intimate friendship that forms between Philip and Farinelli forms the core of the play, with Philip by turns caressing and covetous, and Farinelli half admiring and half fearful of his patron’s mercurial temper. Constance Grady, Vox, "Your guide to the 17 most important nominees at this year’s Tonys," 7 June 2018 But humans are curious, covetous and prone to disregard terrible odds. Malia Wollan, New York Times, "How to Crack a Safe," 4 Apr. 2018 The news media, major sponsors, fans and famous college coaches were covetous — and anxiously waiting to hear what his choice would be. Marc Tracy And Adam Zagoria, New York Times, "How N.C.A.A. Recruiting’s Illicit Spoils Ensnared a Young Star," 4 Oct. 2017 A room full of late-18th-century gentlemen’s waistcoats drove me mad with covetous desire (thankfully Google can take you there). Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Belle of the Ball! In Venice and Paris, Vogue’s Hamish Bowles Embarks on an Art-Filled Excursion," 30 Aug. 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of covetous

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for covetous

see covet

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about covetous

Dictionary Entries near covetous








Statistics for covetous

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for covetous

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for covetous



English Language Learners Definition of covetous

formal : feeling or showing a very strong desire for something that you do not have and especially for something that belongs to someone else


cov·​et·​ous | \ ˈkə-vət-əs How to pronounce covetous (audio) \

Kids Definition of covetous

: having or showing too much desire for wealth or possessions or for something belonging to another person

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on covetous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for covetous

Spanish Central: Translation of covetous

Nglish: Translation of covetous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of covetous for Arabic Speakers

Comments on covetous

What made you want to look up covetous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!