c. 1300, "inordinate desire of gaining and possessing wealth," fifth of the seven deadly sins, from Old French avarice "greed, covetousness" (12c.), from Latin avaritia "greed, inordinate desire," from avarus "greedy, grasping," adjectival form of avere "crave, long for, be eager," from Proto-Italic *awe- "to be eager," from PIE *heu-eh- "to enjoy, consume" (source also of Sanskrit avasa- "refreshment, food," avisya- "gluttony;" Welsh ewyllys "will;" Armenian aviwn "lust"). In Middle English also of immoderate desire for knowledge, glory, power, etc.; it "has become limited, except in figurative uses, so as to express only a sordid and mastering desire to get wealth" [Century Dictionary].
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