Avarice vs Greed | Difference between the two Synonyms


Here is a comparison of the words avarice and greed to help you understand the usage and difference between the two synonyms.

Avarice Greed


Avarice is etymologically related to a desire to gain and withhold wealth and possessions. Greed is etymologically related to hunger and insatiable appetite.

Modern Usage

Avarice is a more formal than greed. It suggests a desire to accumulate more and more wealth; and also to hold on to what one has accumulated, hence also suggesting miserliness. It is almost always associated with money and possessions and is not used for food. So you can call a politician avaricious for accumulating money in Swiss bank but don’t call your sibling avaricious if he/she tries to eat your share of the ice-cream. Greed is a less formal and more general word than avarice. Although it is still most often used to suggest an excessive and uncontrollable desire for food, its usage has expanded and it is now used to suggest an unreasonable desire for wealth, possessions and other things too. So it is appropriate to call someone greedy if you think he/she has a desire for food, money etc. which is beyond his/her control and insatiable. But avarice would be a better word to use when you want to suggest miserliness along with greed.

Sentence Example

Avarice for wealth led him to a path which made him rich but he lost all his friends along the way. Greed of people has led to scarcity of resources on earth.


Avarice is a more negative word than greed. While greed can be associated with a desire that is beyond one’s control and arises due to ‘need’, avarice is planned, long term and considered unpardonable.


3 thoughts on “Avarice vs Greed | Difference between the two Synonyms”

  1. These two words get used interchangeably. Now o know they should not. Referring an avaricious situation as greed is downplaying its exceedingly destructive effects.

  2. You may want to correct this error involving ‘once’ in place of of one’s

    While greed can be associated with a desire that is beyond once control and arises due to ‘need’,


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