Is "greediness" good?

Forget the morality -- how does the word itself work? Members of Salon's Table Talk community sound off.


Salon Staff
September 20, 2008 1:10AM (UTC)

Books

Even More and Still More Mangled Language

Bates B -- 08:36 am Pacific Time -- Sep 16, 2008 -- #3933 of 3971

I was listening to Morning Edition on NPR this morning, and they had a segment on the lending crisis where one of the people being interviewed kept talking about how the root cause of this was essentially the "greediness" of the lending companies. Dude, the word you're looking for is "greed." Grr ...

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Jared2 -- 09:11 am Pacific Time -- Sep 16, 2008 -- #3934 of 3971

Greediness: "The attribute of being greedy. Const. as in the adj." OED

Nothing wrong with greediness, at least not from a lexical point of view.

Bates B -- 10:06 am Pacific Time -- Sep 16, 2008 -- #3936 of 3971

I sit corrected. It still bugs me though; it just feels like syllable bloat. Of course, I still get up in arms about "utilize," so maybe I'm just a curmudgeon like that.

Jared2 -- 11:12 am Pacific Time -- Sep 16, 2008 -- #3938 of 3971

I prefer greed myself. A nice strong word that will never go out of style, though it inevitably suffers from overuse. What are the alternatives?

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acquisitiveness avarice avariciousness avidity covetousness cupidity excess gluttony materialism meanness miserliness rapacity stinginess

Of these I like rapacity.

Mochi Hada -- 11:14 am Pacific Time -- Sep 16, 2008 -- #3939 of 3971

wantin' stuff

David Lettvin -- 11:22 am Pacific Time -- Sep 16, 2008 -- #3940 of 3971

Rapacity ... hey they use rapacity oil in my peanut butter to keep it from separating.

Bruce Jones -- 12:40 pm Pacific Time -- Sep 16, 2008 -- #3941 of 3971

Well you got peanut butter in my rapacity oil!

Jared2 -- 07:37 am Pacific Time -- Sep 17, 2008 -- #3950 of 3971

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No one ever said greediness was good language, only that it is a real word. Why, I don't know. You can say:

Anger was his downfall (anger as noun)

He was angry (anger as adjective)

But not "He was undone by angriness," but you can say

Greed was his downfall. He was greedy. He was undone by greediness. No logical reason, just the arbitrariness of the language.

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David Lettvin -- 12:03 pm Pacific Time -- Sep 17, 2008 -- #3951 of 3971

... and isn't that just why we love the damn thing.

popinque -- 12:23 pm Pacific Time -- Sep 17, 2008 -- #3952 of 3971

I have been thinking and have changed my mind.

Greed is a sin. Like Lust, Jealousy, Anger, etc. It can be and often is personified.

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Greediness is a human quality, a characteristic of a personality, or of a person at a particular time. You can't picture greediness as a monster of some sort. It is petty.

The two words express differing concepts of human psychology.

I still prefer greed, which I would bring down to earth by attaching a possessive pronoun: his greed, our greed, their greed.

Bruce Jones -- 12:31 pm Pacific Time -- Sep 17, 2008 -- #3953 of 3971

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The point is, ladies and gentlemen, 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, for knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.

Jared2 -- 12:54 pm Pacific Time -- Sep 17, 2008 -- #3954 of 3971

Greed works until it doesn't. Then you get bailed out by the Fed.

Bruce Jones -- 01:01 pm Pacific Time -- Sep 17, 2008 -- #3955 of 3971

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Wall Street II: Saved by the Fed

David Lettvin -- 01:12 pm Pacific Time -- Sep 17, 2008 -- #3956 of 3971

Shouldn't that be Wall Street II: Day of the Fed ... or Dawn of the Fed ... or Night of the Lying Fed ... or Fed Man Rocking?

chili -- 06:16 pm Pacific Time -- Sep 17, 2008 -- #3959 of 3971

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I see Fed people!

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