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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce covetous (audio)

Dictionary definition of covetous

Having or showing an excessive or obsessive desire to possess something that belongs to another person.
"The covetous neighbor was envious of the family's new car."

Detailed meaning of covetous

The word implies a sense of envy or greed, and can be used to describe someone who is deeply envious of another's possessions, wealth, or success. The term is often used in a negative context to describe someone who is selfish and obsessed with acquiring more material possessions. In some cases, covetousness can lead to immoral or unethical behavior, such as theft or dishonesty, as the individual seeks to obtain what they desire. Overall, the adjective 'covetous' suggests an unhealthy preoccupation with possessions or wealth, and implies a lack of contentment or satisfaction with what one already has.

Example sentences containing covetous

1. Her covetous eyes lingered over the jewels on display.
2. His covetous attitude towards his neighbor's success was not a healthy mindset.
3. She had a covetous desire for fame and fortune.
4. Despite having plenty, he had a covetous yearning for his friend's wealth.
5. The covetous politician eyed the position of mayor with intense longing.
6. His covetous nature was apparent when he constantly craved his colleague's achievements.

History and etymology of covetous

The adjective 'covetous' has its etymological origins in Middle English and Old French. It can be traced back to the Middle English word 'coveitous,' which, in turn, was borrowed from the Old French term 'coveitos,' meaning 'eager to possess' or 'desirous of.' Old French, in this case, drew from the Latin word 'cupiditos,' which meant 'strong desire' or 'longing.' This Latin term was derived from 'cupere,' which means 'to desire.' Thus, the etymology of 'covetous' reflects a long history of expressing intense desire or longing, particularly for something that belongs to another person. The word has retained this meaning throughout its evolution and remains associated with the excessive or obsessive desire to possess something that is not one's own, making it a term deeply rooted in human emotions and motivations.

Quiz: Find the meaning of covetous

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Further usage examples of covetous

1. The covetous old man refused to share his rare book collection with anyone.
2. She had a covetous glint in her eyes whenever she looked at her sister's designer dresses.
3. The dragon, covetous of gold, hoarded treasures in its lair.
4. His covetous behaviors were growing more apparent as the auction came to a close.
5. Covetous of her brother's success, she worked tirelessly to outdo him.
6. The covetous woman always yearned for things she didn't have.
7. Beware of covetous people who are never satisfied with what they own.
8. Her covetous tendencies were quite off-putting to her friends.
9. He was a covetous man, always desiring something more and never content.
10. Despite his humble surroundings, he felt covetous of those with less.
11. In his covetous ambition, he lost sight of what truly mattered.
12. Her covetous gaze lingered on the luxurious car passing by.
13. His covetous wish to own the rare artifact led him to a life of crime.
14. The covetous child always wanted more toys, regardless of how many he already had.



envious, content, satisfied, indifferent


ACT 16 (American College Testing), Seduction and Allure, Wealth and Desire

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