Our Sunday School lesson yesterday was on covetousness, a word that some of us don’t know how to pronounce and none of us know how to define.
Covetousness seems quite long enough at four syllables, but some in our circles think it needs a fifth. They pronounce it cov et you us ness. That’s ridiculous, four syllables are quite enough to get the job done. In fact, we might be better off if English had stuck with the French original: convoitise. That has only three syllables.
As for the meaning, this seems to be a slippery word, difficult to get a grip on. I looked it up in several dictionaries and didn’t find them helpful. Hence, after some meditation on the subject, I hereby propose two definitions of my own, which I think cover the gamut of what we mean to say when we use the word.
Covetousness: 1. the desire for more than what is good for us; 2. the desire for something that would lift us above the common run of people of our acquaintance.
There you have my contribution to the demystification (six syllables!)of the English language. Feel free to submit your own definitions, or to shoot mine down if you feel that is what is needed.