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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for acquisitiveness in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


acquisitive +‎ -ness


acquisitiveness (usually uncountable, plural acquisitivenesses)

  1. The quality of being acquisitive; propensity to acquire property; desire of possession.
    • 1915, Arthur Davison Ficke, Chats on Japanese Prints, New York: Frederick A. Stokes, Chapter 8, p. 409,[1]
      Collecting at its best is very far from mere acquisitiveness; it may become one of the most humanistic of occupations, seeking to illustrate, by the assembling of significant reliques, the march of the human spirit in its quest of beauty, and the aspirations that were [its] guide.
    • 1936, Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind, New York: Macmillan, 1968, Part Two, Chapter 11,[2]
      If we win this war and have the Cotton Kingdom of our dreams, we still have lost, for we will become a different people and the old quiet ways will go. The world will be at our doors clamoring for cotton and we can command our own price. Then, I fear, we will become like the Yankees, at whose money-making activities, acquisitiveness and commercialism we now sneer.
    • 1939, H. G. Wells, The Holy Terror, Book I, Chapter III, §VI,[3]
      Rud did not even attempt to fish. Chiffan caught nothing, and for the most part they paddled about the lake, pulled yellow and white water lilies out of sheer acquisitiveness, or sprawled in the punt and meditated under a great yellowing horse-chestnut that overhung the water, and occasionally plopped a conker through its glassy surface.
    • 1952, Patricia Highsmith (as Claire Morgan), The Price of Salt, New York: Norton, 2004, Chapter Eleven, p. 113,[4]
      I think he picked me out like a rug for his living room, and he made a bad mistake. I doubt if he’s capable of loving anyone, really. What he has is a kind of acquisitiveness, which isn’t much separate from his ambition.
  2. (phrenology) The faculty to which the phrenologists attribute the desire of acquiring and possessing.
    • 1849, Currer Bell [pseudonym; Charlotte Brontë], chapter 22, in Shirley. A Tale. [], volume (please specify |volume=I, II, or III), London: Smith, Elder and Co., [], OCLC 84390265:
      Had she a little more of the organ of acquisitiveness in her head, a little more of the love of property in her nature, she would take a good-sized sheet of paper and write plainly out, in her own queer but clear and legible hand, the story that has been narrated, the song that has been sung to her, and thus possess what she was enabled to create.