If you see an attractive pizza and feel desire, you can say, "I feel hungry". If you see an attractive person and feel desire, you can say, "I feel lust". If you see an attractive car and feel desire, you can say, "I feel _____ ?"

Is there a single word that describes the desire for something material?

I'm thinking "greedy", but that implies a desire for more material possessions generally, it's not specific to seeing a single item and wanting it. "Desire", of course, is accurate, but again that is too general - it's not specific to material goods. Is there a word (or maybe short phrase) specifically describing the desire to acquire a particular item?

  • @Josh61 no, that's an obsession with shopping generally - I'm looking for a word that means a desire for a single specific object. i.e. bob says: "every time I see a jaquar drive by, I think to myself I must have one of those" - he is feeling, what?
    – Benubird
    Jul 12, 2015 at 14:10
  • 1
    "Oniomania" sounds like an uncontrollable urge to buy onions. ;)
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 12, 2015 at 14:59
  • (And note that an uncontrollable urge to buy what you see may make you a "shopaholic".)
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 12, 2015 at 15:01
  • @HotLicks "Shallotholic"
    – Caleb
    Jul 12, 2015 at 16:05
  • 1
    @CalebBernard - That's an uncontrollable urge to buy hoity-toity onions.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 12, 2015 at 16:08

8 Answers 8


Yes: covetous:

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

If you want a noun, covetousness. But here is one case where the verb does most nicely: “I covet that.”

If you can denominate sexual desire with the term lust, I anticipate no insuperable problem with the scriptural baggage of covet.

  • 1
    This is not a word I would have thought of, as I don't think I've ever heard it used, but I think the definition is the best match. Future readers might also consider crave, which is similar, but implies more of a physical or emotional need.
    – Benubird
    Jul 12, 2015 at 18:21

Somewhat obvious suggestion, but how about materialistic?

1) The theory or attitude that physical well-being and worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life.

2) Concern for possessions or material wealth and physical comfort, especially to the exclusion of spiritual or intellectual pursuits.



Being covetous often implies what you want belongs to someone else (which could even include your neighbour's wife as well as his ass).

To my ear, acquisitiveness might simply imply a tendency to accumulate possessions (by not discarding things you no longer need, as well as being keen to acquire them in the first place).

So I suggest:

avarice - extreme greed for wealth or material gain

  • Would you strongly desire to by a new car out of avarice? To me avarice is just the opposite of spending money for pleasure ( cars etc.)
    – user66974
    Jul 12, 2015 at 14:33
  • 2
    @Josh61: I'm not sure a strong desire to buy things is necessarily an expression of avarice. You might just be a feckless spendthrift, for example, or someone who likes to show off, impress others with your flashy expensive possessions. To me, avarice is more about greedily seeking to own things, well reflected in my cited definition. Jul 12, 2015 at 14:49
  • +1 FF for avarice and the distinction you draw with covetous
    – user98990
    Jul 12, 2015 at 18:40

Caveat emptor: this answer, offered with levity, is directed specifically toward the example of the desire felt toward an automobile, rather than toward material objects in general, which I believe is a manifestation of MATERIALISM.

Well, if this was a simple one to one proposition, like hunger is want of food, and lust want of sex, then perhaps you could say that the desire for a car was want of mobility, i.e., immobility, or the feeling of being ... stuck i.e., blocked, wedged, or jammed. (links are to Merriam-Webster online)

Unfortunately, I think that this want is less directly tied to the issue of mobility in general, and is instead, highly specific, often directed toward a certain car, one particular car out of many cars (I know. I've seen the look.). So, perhaps the best way to describe this ... desire, is just to call it what it obviously is: lust. In this case, Car Lust. ;-)

Car Lust: extreme desire of an automobile. Usually happens after driving an awesome car, usually a friend’s or a rental. “Dudes, I have serious car lust after driving that 1969 corvette!”

(For definitions of "Car Lust," see definithing.com & the Urban Dictionary)

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Exhibit A

  • 2
    +1 for car lust or boat envy
    – bib
    Jul 12, 2015 at 15:03
  • 1
    To be confused with neither objectum sexuality nor autosexuality!
    – Caleb
    Jul 12, 2015 at 16:11
  • Yes @Caleb, we can definitely exclude 'autosexuality' (that's very good!), but I think you should post 'objectum sexuality' as an answer. Seriously.
    – user98990
    Jul 12, 2015 at 16:15

I think acquisitive comes close to what you are looking for:

  • inclined or eager to acquire things, esp material.

(Collins Dict.)


Another possible word could be longing "He had a longing for the beautiful painting."

Defined as: a strong desire for something, particularly something unattainable.


While it is not commonly used (in my experience) in the first person, to hunger for something seems very close to what you want. It evokes the intense, immediate desire for something tangible, such as food, but can be used to speak about desire for almost any material object.

It can also be used for less material concepts, such as hungering for love or fame.

From "Country Joe and the Fish"'s song, "Porpoise Mouth":

I hunger for your porpoise mouth, and stand erect for love.


Covet is also the word that first came to mind for me. You covet the car. However, can covet anything - a person, money, items, activities. It is not necessarily "material"

Maybe materialistic? Materialism is the state of desiring material things, to to "feel materialistic" would be wanting material things.

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