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From French cupidité, from Latin cupiditās (strong desire), from cupidus (keen, desirous). Compare Cupid.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /kjuːˈpɪdəti/
  • (file)


cupidity (countable and uncountable, plural cupidities)

  1. Extreme greed, especially for wealth.
    • 1837, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Ethel Churchill, volume 3, page 71:
      A bargain is a social evil; one man's loss, tempting another man's cupidity.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 9:
      Now Jonah’s Captain, shipmates, was one whose discernment detects crime in any, but whose cupidity exposes it only in the penniless.
    • 1857, Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers, Volume the First, page 11 →ISBN
      His affairs, however, were not allowed to subside thus quietly, and people were quite as much inclined to talk about the disinterested sacrifice he had made, as they had before been to upbraid him for his cupidity.
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad[1]:
      “I have tried, as I hinted, to enlist the co-operation of other capitalists, but experience has taught me that any appeal is futile that does not impinge directly upon cupidity. …”
    • 1956, Arthur C. Clarke, The City and the Stars, page 37:
      Humanity had always been fascinated by the mystery of the falling dice, the turn of a card, the spin of the pointer. At its lowest level, this interest was based on mere cupidity—and that was an emotion that could have no place in a world where everyone possessed all that they could reasonably need.
    • 1982, Lawrence Durrell, Constance, Faber & Faber 2004 (Avignon Quintet), p. 784:
      It was easy to dissimulate and disperse these modest purchases in such a way as not to excite the cupidity of any passing patrols.


Related terms[edit]