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

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 Photo : Mercedes-Benz AG This is a vehicle that is at once a capacious hauler of humans, a covetous lifestyle accessory, and a wildly competent militaristic transport. Brett Berk, Robb Report, 13 May 2024 As Céline launches a charm offensive — a kind of maternal seduction, even — on the boy, Alice grows ever more anxiously protective: Is her bereft neighbor merely seeking an outlet for her grief, or enacting some kind of covetous revenge? Guy Lodge, Variety, 27 Mar. 2024 In a typical dispatch for The Church Times, about St. Matthew, Mr. Blythe wrote: Not for us covetous desires and inordinate love of riches. Clay Risen, New York Times, 8 Feb. 2023 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

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

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 25 May. 2024.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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