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Is there any word with that meaning or a similar one?

Example:

Many had died in their attempt to be immortal. Kings, emperors, merchants, scientists—the [...] don't discriminate.

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    The 'lust for immortality' is used, but you'd need to rephrase to say ' – the lust for immortality is common to all men'. (And 'Many had died in their attempt to be immortal' sounds rather strange.) Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 12:07
  • I don't associate greedy desire with a hunger for immortality. Greed tends to imply a zero-sum outcome: my greed causes your need, because when I take a bigger share than I should of some resource I am also depriving you of your fair share. But it's not obvious that if I succeed in achieving immortality, it will be at your expense.
    – Erik Kowal
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 15:22
  • If, for some reason, you wished to bring a connotation of money (though it can apply to anything of value, really), you may find “avarice” to be a flavorful word.
    – HalosGhost
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 22:06

4 Answers 4

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The standard word for greedy desire is lust. By itself, the assumed meaning is sexual, but it is often used in compound constructions such as blood-lust, power-lust and money-lust. I've never heard immortality-lust, however, as @EdwinAshworth mentioned, you could use the longer phrase lust for immortality.

The phrase lust for life is more common, but it doesn't mean immortality in particular. Still, it might be the best fit for your desired sentence in particular.

Many had died in their attempt to be immortal. Kings, emperors, merchants, scientists —the lust for life doesn't discriminate.

Compare also the term lusty which you might expect to have sexual connotations, but which actually means healthy and strong; full of vigor.

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Perhaps the adjective acquisitive used as a noun

Excessively interested in acquiring money or material things.

Similarly, avaricious

Having or showing an extreme greed for wealth or material gain

Oxford Dictionaries Online

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There is covetousness, from covetous, which Merriam-Webster defines as

feeling or showing a very strong desire for something that you do not have and especially for something that belongs to someone else

All the first part of the definition requires is that the covetous one does not have the desideratum. So one may covet immortality even if no one else has achieved it or if it is unobtainable, as this use from Henry R. Cleveland's Felton's Homer suggests:

The idea of man, to which we have already alluded, conduced much to this. His very existence was tragedy; ... coveting immortality [emphasis added], yet certain of death, ...

But it may also be used if someone else has achieved immortality, either literally (perhaps through some device like the philosopher's stone) or figuratively through an enduring legacy.

In this case, envy may also be used, according to Merriam-Webster:

painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage

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The word seems to be

Avarice

OED:

1.a. Inordinate desire of acquiring and hoarding wealth; greediness of gain, cupidity.

1643 Sir T. Browne Religio Medici (authorized ed.) ii. §13 To me, avarice seems not so much a vice, as a deplorable piece of madness.

1766 O. Goldsmith Vicar of Wakefield II. i. 29 Avarice was his prevailing passion

Merriam Webster:

avarice noun

: excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain

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