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I am looking for a word that describes the emotion or feeling of an intrinsic want of a new and better possession. Covetous or envious seem a bit too focused on the other other person's possession of the desired object whereas I am looking for something that is defined by the internal thoughts we have when seeing an advertisement for the latest iPhone or life-changing new service.

I saw this post but I am wondering if there is a word with less emphasis on the second entity? Otherwise, would I covet new things from Amazon or Apple? Can I be envious of corporations?

For example, I just bought a new car and now, looking at my slightly out of date television, I feel the need to upgrade my T.V. with a newer, shiny one from Amazon. Would I be coveting that T.V. which Amazon sells?

I saw the ad for the latest iPhone, the iPhone 3000, and feel that my current phone is inadequate. I am a(n) ______ person, since I always desire something better than what I currently possess. If I was a caveman with a sharpened stick, I'd want your sharper, pointier stick.

I feel like there is probably some niche German word for exactly this, but I'm unsure it exists in English. Thanks!

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    For those who disagree, answers at what I firmly consider to be a duplicate include: 'Always wanting more , of anything, never has enough, never contented with what they have' / 'Avarice, covetousness, rapacity or any synonym of. ' Greed ' would mean the same'. The fact that OP has accepted 'acquisitive' shows that they are quite content with an answer not referencing upgrades at all. This makes the question (in line with the title question) a duplicate of 'What does it mean (ie a term for) when someone always wants more? Of anything?' // If OP wants the 'something new' slant to be ... – Edwin Ashworth Oct 20 at 13:55
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    @EdwinAshworth I didn't mean to hammer-open this (I didn't notice the SWR tag), but I did mean to vote to reopen. Not that your reasons to close are not good, but this and the duplicate are highly voted meaning interesting to people, and people are giving good suggestions, so why not keep it open? – Mitch Oct 20 at 19:15
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    @Mitch ELU is meant to be of more than passing interest (though none of us would be here if that weren't included), but is primarily intended (as I understand it) as a researchable resource. It's already nigh on impossible to find duplicates one knows are around, and having multiple coverage makes things worse. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 21 at 15:50
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    Hello Metallic Avocado. We are trying to re-open your question, but we need a little cooperation from you. Could you please supply a sample sentence as requires by the SWR tag?...."This tag is for questions seeking a single word that fits a meaning. To ensure that your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word. INCLUDE A SAMPLE SENTENCE demonstrating how the word would be used. " – Cascabel Oct 24 at 16:50
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    Howdy Cascabel! I added an example. Let me know if there are any formatting issues for the example and I'll address those as well. – Metallic Avocado Oct 24 at 22:49

11 Answers 11

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avaricious

showing an extremely strong wish to get or keep money or possessions:

-Cambridge online.

An avaricious person is very greedy for money or possessions.

-Collins online

My Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (9th edition) describes it as...

desire for wealth

and the same dictionary describes wealth as...

a large amount of money, property, etc.

An avaricious person seeks money, and possesions, just to have them.

The noun is avarice.

  • Avarice is often contrasted with greed in that it primarily seeks money, while greed is primarily focused on possessions, so this seems a little off the mark. – Charles Oct 21 at 20:39
  • Sorry, but both of my sources say otherwise... – Cascabel Oct 28 at 19:00
  • I'm not surprised your one-line definitions from abbreviated online dictionaries don't show the distinction (though Collins does become more explicit when you look up "avarice" instead). But if you search, say, google.com/search?q=avarice+vs+greed you'll find more nuance, and likewise if you look up the words in less condensed dictionaries. – Charles Oct 28 at 19:08
  • Your link says "wealth and money". My OALD 9th print edition says "...a desire for wealth". Wealth in the same dictionary is described as " a large amount of money, possessions, etc" Is that nuanced enough for you? In what way shape or form is Quora.com (your actual link) considered a reputable source? – Cascabel Oct 28 at 19:19
  • Precisely: in all of those definitions, money is primary. The definitions of greed in various dictionaries would stress the opposite. Of course both meanings are possible with both words, but getting the nuance of the language right requires understanding a little more. – Charles Oct 28 at 20:16
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Materialistic? The desire to possess tangible objects.

  • Culturally in the US, this is the word I hear used most often, and I think used in a way people generally understand to mean what you are after. – moodboom Oct 21 at 17:08
  • You remember “the material girl”. – user067531 Oct 21 at 21:58
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You might want to try

Acquisitive

strongly desirous of acquiring and possessing

  • Great word! I'd never heard of it until now, but it sounds like exactly what it means. – goblin Oct 20 at 6:57
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    Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to be too neutral a word. The M-W example for acquisitive stresses also the ability to get and keep what is wanted, and the example quote the speaks of an acquisitive "mind". "Consumerist" seems to apply much better if I read OP correctly. – Gnudiff Oct 20 at 11:18
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    If want to also include the fact that the feeling is constant you can use the phrase "chronic acquisitiveness". Note that "chronic" is often applied like this when describing a disease or other medical problem, so it definitely puts a negative slant on the condition. – JonathanZ supports MonicaC Oct 21 at 3:26
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    To me this just implies the desire to acquire and own things, regardless of whether they are new or not. Someone could just as easily be considered acquisitive because they collect rare antiques or expensive pieces of art. It does not carry the connotation of wanting the latest and shiniest gadgets the OP was asking for. – Darrel Hoffman Oct 21 at 16:31
  • It does not have to be new but it certainly has to be better! I would imagine pre-agriculture, thus pre-consumerism, humans still felt the desire to have bigger and better things, but I see your point that this word does not capture that well. – Metallic Avocado Oct 24 at 22:56
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I think you are referring to,

Consumerism:

the situation in which too much attention is given to buying and owning things.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

based on the economic theory according to which:

an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable in a social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts.

(Wikipedia)

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    This is a good word, but I feel that it is not a good fit for my particular scenario because it describes a group of people or society rather than an individual. – Metallic Avocado Oct 19 at 23:15
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    @MetallicAvocado try "consumerist" to describe a single person. Your accepted answer feels too neutral. Acquisitive is, in my experience, used positively as often as negatively. – Gnudiff Oct 20 at 11:20
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    @MetallicAvocado Without that consumer society, the individual probably wouldn't feel the need (even with targeted advertisement). The term also describes this kind of behavior. – Martin Zeitler Oct 21 at 10:45
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Lust was already covered by an answer to the linked question. Something similar came to my mind:

greed

An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth.

Souce: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

7

Perhaps you’re looking for the ‘hedonic treadmill’:

The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

5

GAS - Gear Acquisition Syndrome

https://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/7-stages-of-gear-acquisition-syndrome-585947

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FOMO

Regarding limited edition or sale items, a big motivation can be FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). This can also apply to having the newest version of high obsolescence technology devices (such as smart phones or other gadgets) that have the latest features, whether it's wifi enabled home appliances, facial recognition in your phone, Ultra HD on your TV, or whatever novelty it is. Our psychological susceptibility to this is why retail sometimes only has one copy of a for sale item on display (but more in storage) as the perception that it's the "last one" increases our desire to acquire.

4

What about Compulsive buying disorder (CBD), or oniomania?

It‘s a medical condition. As quoted in Wikipedia, it "is experienced as an irresistible–uncontrollable urge, resulting in excessive, expensive and time-consuming retail activity [that is] typically prompted by negative affectivity" and results in "gross social, personal and/or financial difficulties".

More informal expressions would be Buying binge or shopping frenzy.

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3

For a less judgmental term you might call such a person an

early adopter

This would be a term used for someone who always has to have the latest technology - as you mentioned, they might be near the front of the line every time Apple or Amazon releases their newest gadget. (Implied is that this is often without waiting for the device to be fully tested by extended use in the market first.)

3

I once bumped into this distinction out of a scholarly article:

  • greedy: acquisitively avaricious
  • miser: retentively avaricious

Although it may be of technical nature, it arranges relevant terms (avaricious, aquisitive, greedy, ...) in a way worth considering.

(I will add a proper citation as soon as I find out the source again.)

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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