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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ As a result of the man's refreshing lack of avarice, a replica of the pub had to be built.
▪ But it is also a saga of human avarice and the abuse of power.
▪ Consuming the fruits of the Earth unrestrained, we become consumed ourselves by avarice and greed.
▪ I interpreted his secrecy as emotional avarice.
▪ Imperceptibly at first, the avarice for which their caste is famous began to shine through like copper beneath worn silver-plating.
▪ In Emor he had been rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Avarice \Av"a*rice\ ([a^]v"[.a]*r[i^]s), n. [F. avaritia, fr. avarus avaricious, prob. fr. av[=e]re to covet, fr. a root av to satiate one's self: cf. Gr. 'a`menai, 'a^sai, to satiate, Skr. av to satiate one's self, rejoice, protect.]

  1. An excessive or inordinate desire of gain; greediness for wealth; covetousness; cupidity.

    To desire money for its own sake, and in order to hoard it up, is avarice.

  2. An inordinate desire for some supposed good.

    All are taught an avarice of praise.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1300, from Old French avarice "greed, covetousness" (12c.), from Latin avaritia "greed," from avarus "greedy," adjectival form of avere "crave, long for."


n. 1 excessive or inordinate desire of gain; greediness after wealth; covetousness; cupidity. 2 Inordinate desire for some supposed good.

  1. n. reprehensible acquisitiveness; insatiable desire for wealth (personified as one of the deadly sins) [syn: greed, covetousness, rapacity, avaritia]

  2. extreme greed for material wealth [syn: avariciousness, covetousness, cupidity]

Avarice (disambiguation)
  • Avarice is one of the seven deadly sins.

The word "Avarice" is used to describe someone that has an extreme greed for wealth or material gain.

For similar sounding words see
  • Avaris, a place in ancient Egypt
  • James Averis, an English cricketer
  • John Averis, a firefighter who died on 2 November 2007 fighting a fire at Atherstone on Stour in England
Other uses

Operation Avarice, a U.S. military operation

Avarice (Dürer, Vienna)

Avarice (German: Allegorie des Geizes) is a small (35 × 29 cm) oil-on- limewood painting of 1507 by Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528). It shows a grotesque and wrinkled old woman with one sagging breast hanging out of her crimson robe holding a bag of gold coins with both hands. The work is found on the reverse of his Portrait of Young Man; it has been speculated, though it is impossible to know, that they were intended to form part of a diptych. Avarice is allegorical and serves as a warning at both the transience of life and the ultimate worthlessness of earthly fortune. It is generally grouped, along with Melencolia I, as one of Dürer's vanitas images.

Intended to represent both avarice and the passing nature of youthful beauty, the woman is shown in half-length, painted in thick impasto. She has long straight blond hair, glazed eyes, a long nose, a pinched jaw and a mouth with only two remaining teeth, which is twisted in a scornful laugh. Her visible right arm is muscular and out of proportion to the rest of her body, while a dark tuft of hair sprouts from her underarm. Only her hair and the regular and almost noble outlines of her face hint at former beauty. The intense focus of the image is achieved by tight cropping and the contrasting of the lush colouring of the woman's gown and hair against a flat black background.

Art historians have compared the work to a Giorgionesque canvas Col tempo (With age), with which it shares obvious thematic similarities, while Dürer's use of impasto and the rich colouring in the foreground display a debt to the Venetian school. The art historian T. Sturge Moore suggests that Dürer may have wanted to show that he could paint like Giorgione. Others believe that the work is a satire on a sitter who had not paid him as much as he might have wished for an earlier portrait. However, given the artist's financial situation at this time, it seems unlikely that he would have deliberately offended potential patrons or customers. Writer Jessie Allen discounts this theory and believes that the work was likely unable to attract a buyer and so, to save money, Dürer used the other side of the canvas to create a commercially viable image. The work is often seen as unfinished, and is sometimes referred to as a sketch.

Avarice is held in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. It is in good condition, and the colours retain their vibrancy.

In the Kunsthistoriches it is labeled "Allegorische Frauenfigur/Allegorical Female Figure"

Usage examples of "avarice".

The acquisition of riches served only to stimulate the avarice of the rapacious Barbarians, who proceeded, by threats, by blows, and by tortures, to force from their prisoners the confession of hidden treasure.

Misfortunes of this kind, whatever inconveniencies they may be attended with, are incapable of subduing a mind in which there is any strength, without the assistance of avarice.

Inattentive, or rather averse, to the welfare of his people, he found himself under the necessity of gratifying the insatiate avarice which he had excited in the army.

A purer, richer aspect of this world, closer to the Focus yet destroyed by avarice and war, hence the Faery migration to this baser world.

The poor old man began by saying with great politeness that I really stood in no need of money to escape, that he had none, that he had a large family, that if I was killed the money would be lost, with a thousand other futilities of the same kind to disguise his avarice, or the dislike he felt to parting with his money.

Ambition nor avarice, nor yet craving after luxury, disturb their contented souls or drag them away from the non-progressive round of simple life bequeathed them by their fathers.

His taste for luxury extended to everything but ministers, for he inherited from his father and kept in office a shady group, neither capable nor honest, who were despised by the nobles because they were of common birth and hated by the bourgeois for their avarice and venality.

That Oppianicus had ended in being convicted was due to the avarice of his appointed briber, the same Gaius Aelius Staienus who had proven so useful to Pompey a few years earlier-and kept ninety thousand sesterces for himself when Gaius Antonius Hybrida had hired him to bribe nine tribunes of the plebs.

There could be no doubt as to the action of the machinery, and it was no feeling of avarice which hindered me from buying the chair.

RIGHT HAPPILY transferred from the vice of avarice to that of ebriety: He that has just eneugh may soundly sleep, The owercome only fashes folk to keep.

The elder sister thought I was duped, for in two months I had paid three hundred francs without having done anything, and she attributed my reserve to avarice.

Cappadocia tempted the monarch to acquire in that country his fairest possessions, and either Constantine or his successors embraced the occasion of justifying avarice by religious zeal.

Where neither avarice, cunning, pride, nor care, Had stamped the seal of gray deformity On all the mingling lineaments of time.

He turned into Lithia Motors and drove slowly past rows of shiny cars designed to create avarice in the least materialistic.

The benevolence of the master was so frequently prompted by the meaner suggestions of vanity and avarice, that the laws found it more necessary to restrain than to encourage a profuse and undistinguishing liberality, which might degenerate into a very dangerous abuse.