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From Middle English covatusnes, covetousnes, coveytousnesse; equivalent to covetous +‎ -ness.



covetousness (usually uncountable, plural covetousnesses)

  1. Immoderate desire for the possession of something, especially for wealth.
    • 1588, Jean La Placette, Of the Incurable Scepticism of the Church of Rome:
      He which will yield to Fear. muſt neceſſarily yield to Covetouſneſs or any inordinate Deſire.
    • 1661, J. Johnson, The morning-exercise at Cripple-gate:
      Covetouſneſs is the yelow Jaundice of the foul, which ariſes from the over-flowing of the heart with love to yellow gold, by which a Chriſtian is dull'd and deadned.
    • 1815, Samuel Lavington, Sermons and other discourses, Volume 1:
      Covetousness prevents all good, and is and inlet and encouragement to evil.
    • 1976, Jacques Ellul, The Ethics of Freedom, page 134:
      In obvious compensation and opposition the fear of nothingness becomes the source of covetousness...