greedier; greediest
: marked by greed : having or showing a selfish desire for wealth and possessions
greedy creditors
: eager, keen
greedy for fame
: having a strong desire for food or drink
a predator greedy of its prey
greedily adverb
greediness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for greedy

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 greedy in a Sentence

He was a ruthless and greedy businessman. There's no need to get greedy—there's plenty for everyone. He blames all his problems on greedy lawyers.
Recent Examples on the Web One way to make California more enticing would be to offer a benefit that worked well for generations until the state got greedy in the 1970s: Free tuition at public universities for California residents. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2024 Here was a man who could be bought, greedy to top up his demeaning £30 annual salary. Sean Kingsley, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Apr. 2024 The film’s synopsis explains: Marcus becomes disgruntled with the family’s greedy tactics after learning his family would put the lives of innocent people in harm’s way to make a profit. Angelique Jackson, Variety, 2 Apr. 2024 In real life, bisexual people face stereotypes of being greedy and hypersexual. Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 27 Mar. 2024 In a nearly 30-minute speech introducing herself to Kennedy supporters, Shanahan echoed the critique at the heart of Kennedy’s campaign — that both major parties, the media and the U.S. government are beholden to greedy profiteers. Jonathan J. Cooper, Fortune, 26 Mar. 2024 Chega campaigned promising higher salaries and better conditions for workers, who the party said had been impoverished by a greedy elite. Emma Bubola, New York Times, 21 Mar. 2024 While hating on the greedy banks and bashing capitalism plays well with the animated and very-online progressive movement, the fact remains that so much of what powers the broader economy is reliant on that system that prizes easy and reliable access to capital. Philip Elliott, TIME, 18 Mar. 2024 There is a corporation that is funding the endeavors of a greedy machine that is lying about pollution. Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times, 19 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'greedy.' 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 gredy, from Old English grǣdig; akin to Old High German grātac greedy

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of greedy was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near greedy

Cite this Entry

“Greedy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


greedier; greediest
: having a keen appetite
: having an eager and often selfish desire or longing
greedy for praise
: wanting more than one needs or more than one's fair share (as of food)
greedily adverb
greediness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on greedy

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