The Meaning of Covet: What It Is and How To Use It

What does it mean to covet something? This article will define the meaning of covet and teach you how to use it in your everyday life.

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

For years, people have pondered the morality of coveting other peoples’ things. Is coveting something wrong? Is it just human nature to covet something? We may never have a firm answer on this, but we can learn what the word covet means.

This article will teach you the meaning of the word covet and how to use it in daily life. Then, it will provide a history of the word covet, translations of the word covet, and more! After reading this article, you can decide if you believe it is wrong to covet things.

What Does Covet Mean?

According to Dictionary, to covet something is to have an Inordinate desire or desire for something. The word covet can either be a transitive or an intransitive verb. The pronunciation of covet is ˈkʌvɪt, and covet is two syllables: cov-et.

One of the most popular places you might see the word covet is in the Bible’s Tenth Commandment. This commandment states that “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife,” nor another person’s property, and so on. 

How Can We Use Covet in a Sentence?

The word covet often has negative implications. As you study the examples below, see if you can think about why this word is negative. Then, for each sentence below, try to identify the person or thing that is being coveted.

Example #1: The Lonely Man

The lonely man in the apartment building found himself coveting his neighbor’s wife. He was very jealous of how she cared for him and began hyper-fixating on her every move. Finally, it became so scary that the woman called the police, and they moved away.

Question: What did the man covet in the above sentence?

Answer: The man coveted his neighbor’s wife.

Example #2: The New House

The older sister coveted her younger sister’s house. She felt that since she was older, she should be the one to buy a house, get married, and have children first, but that was not the case.

Question: What did the woman covet in the above sentence?

Answer: The woman coveted her sister’s house.

What Is the Etymology of Covet?

The word covet entered the English language in the 13th century as the Middle English coveiten. This word comes from the Old French convoiter, coveitier, and coveiter as well as the Latin cupiditas, cupere, and cupidus.

What Are Translations of Covet?

Other than the American English language, several world languages use their own words for covet. To learn many translations of the word covet, you can reference this list of translations of covet from Nice Translator. 

If you are going to be studying religion in another country, you might find this list of translations of the word covet very useful.  

  • Estonian: ihal
  • Marathi: लोभ
  • Indonesian: mendambakan
  • Chinese (PRC): 贪图
  • Croatian: žudnja
  • German: begehren
  • Bulgarian: пожелание
  • Icelandic: eftirsótt
  • French: convoiter
  • Lithuanian: geidulingas
  • Italian: braccia
  • Russian: жажду
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 貪圖
  • Catalan: cobert
  • Malay: covet
  • Bengali: লোভ
  • Swedish: eftertrakta
  • Slovenian: hrepenenje
  • Polish: pożądać czegoś
  • Telugu: కోవెట్
  • Slovak: túlať sa
  • Norwegian: begjær
  • Greek: επιθυμώ
  • Serbian: ковчетак
  • Gujarati: લાલચ
  • Spanish: codiciar
  • Vietnamese: thèm muốn
  • Hungarian: megkíván
  • Hindi: लालच
  • Finnish: himentaa
  • Hebrew: לַחמוֹד
  • Latvian: iekārot
  • Thai: โลภ
  • Korean: 코벳
  • Arabic: طمع
  • Welsh: trachwantem
  • Ukrainian: завивати
  • Amharic: ኮኔሽን
  • Danish: eftertragter
  • Urdu: لالچ
  • Tamil: கோவெட்
  • Malayalam: മോഹം
  • Basque: sola
  • Kannada: ಅಸ್ತವ್ಯಸ್ತತೆ
  • Japanese: 切望
  • Portuguese: cobiçar
  • Dutch: begeren

What Are Synonyms of Covet?

Covet has a very negative connotation, but there are several other words with the same definition as covet that have a neutral or a positive connotation. For word lists related to the word covet, you can reference Power Thesaurus. Here, you can learn words that are synonyms of the word covet. 

Can you classify these words into positive, negative, and neutral connotations?

  • ache
  • ache for
  • aim
  • be consumed with desire
  • be consumed with desire for
  • be desirous of
  • be envious
  • begrudge
  • choose
  • crave
  • craving
  • desiderate
  • desire
  • envy
  • fancy
  • grudge
  • hanker
  • hanker after
  • hanker for
  • have hots for
  • hunger
  • hunger after
  • hunger for
  • itch
  • itch for
  • long
  • long for
  • lust
  • lust after
  • lust for
  • need
  • pant
  • pine
  • pine for
  • resent
  • seek
  • sigh for
  • thirst
  • thirst after
  • want
  • wish
  • wish for
  • yearn
  • yearn for
  • yen for

What Are Antonyms of Covet?

If someone does the opposite of coveting something, they actively do not like or want something. To learn several ways to say the opposite of covet, you can look at this list of antonyms of covet from Power Thesaurus

Do most of these words have a positive connotation or a negative connotation?

  • abhor
  • abjure
  • abominate
  • be against
  • be generous
  • be hostile to
  • begrudge
  • condemn
  • criticize
  • decline
  • defy
  • denounce
  • deplore
  • deprecate
  • despise
  • detest
  • disapprove
  • disapprove of
  • discount
  • discountenance
  • disdain
  • disesteem
  • disfavor
  • dislike
  • dismiss
  • disregard
  • disrelish
  • don’t wait
  • execrate
  • forget
  • frown on
  • frown upon
  • give
  • grudge
  • hate
  • have an aversion to
  • have no stomach for
  • ignore
  • leave out
  • loathe
  • look down on
  • mind
  • mislike
  • miss
  • neglect
  • not take kindly to
  • not want
  • object to
  • omit
  • oppose
  • overlook
  • rebuff
  • recoil from
  • refuse
  • reject
  • reprobate
  • resent
  • resist
  • scorn
  • shrink from
  • shudder at
  • shun
  • slam
  • spurn
  • take exception to


The definition of covet (cov-vət) is a verb that means to wish for something with a strong desire, often wrongfully or inordinately. This word of the day has a negative and often biblical connotation. If you’re looking for a word that means to desire strongly and has a negative implication, you can use the word covet!


  1. Covet synonyms – 546 Words and Phrases for Covet | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Covet antonyms – 87 Opposites of Covet | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Covet | Nice Translator 
  4. Covet Definition & Meaning |