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

Example Sentences

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 At 6-foot-5 and 208 pounds with a 6-10 wingspan, Quiñones measures as a modern NBA 3-and-D wing, with a shooting stroke that the Warriors covet. C.j. Holmes, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Mar. 2023 The development, which is expected to be completed in early 2024, offers rare direct access to the city’s marina, which buyers clearly covet. David Kaufman, Robb Report, 4 Feb. 2023 In fact, the No. 4 Clippers (teams still covet a top four finish for the home-court edge in the first round) were only 28-24 heading into a Sunday night game at Cleveland. Dallas News, 30 Jan. 2023 No art skills required, but Monet would probably covet your loved one’s finished piece. Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2023 Why trade: Rebuilding teams looking to offload players with long-term salary and open future salary cap space sooner often covet expiring contracts as trade returns. Dallas News, 30 Jan. 2023 Those with curly hair, on the other hand, might covet the Denman brush, long acclaimed by users and Tardo alike to detangle curls and coils. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 9 Jan. 2023 Campaign finance reports by Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton underscored how the gambling industry continues to covet a huge market now beyond its reach — Texas, the nation’s second most populous state. Dallas News, 1 Feb. 2022 The suites offer between one and three bedrooms for those who covet space (or company). Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 1 Dec. 2022 See More

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.

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 Mar. 2023.

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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