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C. 1600. Back-formation from greedy.[1]


  • enPR: grēd, IPA(key): /ɡɹid/
  • Rhymes: -iːd
  • (file)


greed (countable and uncountable, plural greeds)

  1. A selfish or excessive desire for more than is needed or deserved, especially of money, wealth, food, or other possessions.
    Synonyms: avarice, covetousness, greediness, rapacity, gluttony; see also Thesaurus:greed
    His greed was his undoing.
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 564:
      [] But when I had bestridden the plank, quoth I to myself, "Thou deserveth all that betideth thee. All this is decreed to me of Allah (whose name be exalted!), to turn me from my greed of gain, whence ariseth all that I endure, for I have wealth galore."
    • 1954, Thomas Firbank, Log Hut, page 194:
      Your market gardener is not a well-breeched man, dependant as he is on the imponderables of glut, the inequities of distribution, and the greeds of wholesaler and retailer.
    • 1973, Oliver Sacks, Awakenings:
      She does not display voracities and greeds like a number of patients [] nor has she shown any significant tendency to possessiveness, grievance, paranoia, or mania.
    • 1987, Stanley Weiser, Oliver Stone, Wall Street (motion picture), spoken by Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas):
      The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.


Derived terms[edit]



greed (third-person singular simple present greeds, present participle greeding, simple past and past participle greeded)

  1. To desire in a greedy manner, or to act on such a desire.
    • 1848, [Edward Bulwer-Lytton], chapter XI, in Harold, the Last of the Saxon Kings; [], volume III, London: Richard Bentley, [], →OCLC, book XI (The Norman Schemer, and the Norwegian Sea-king), page 218:
      The ravens sit greeding, / And watching, and heeding: / Thoro' wind, over water, / Comes scent of the slaughter, / And ravens sit greeding / Their share of the bones.
    • 1885, Sir Richard Francis Burton, A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights:
      Hearing these words he arose, because indeed he greeded for her, and came up behind her as she rested upon her elbows and knees and bending in hand his prickle nailed it into her coynte and did manly devoir.
    • 2008, Leonard Warwick, The Unspoken, page 284:
      This conniving bastard has greeded the farm off an old man and I end up with nothing.


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “greed”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Further reading[edit]