Portraying a greedy character can add depth, conflict, and emotional tension to your story.
Here is how to describe a greedy person in writing:
Describe a greedy person in writing by focusing on their relentless pursuit of self-interest at the expense of others. Use adjectives like “insatiable” or “unscrupulous” and phrases like “out for oneself” or “hungry for more.” Illustrate their greed through actions, dialogue, and moral choices.
In this ultimate guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know for how to describe a greedy person in writing.
21 Ways to Describe a Greedy Person in Writing (Tips + Examples)
While greed is a universally understood trait, the nuances can vary widely.
Below are 21 tips and examples to help you create a compelling depiction of a greedy character in your writing.
1. The Money Hoarder
When you think of a greedy person, the image of someone hoarding wealth often comes to mind.
This character trait is not just about amassing a fortune.
It’s about the extreme lengths the individual will go to for more.
They may cut corners, exploit others, and bend or break the rules to add to their wealth.
Example: Not content with his already substantial fortune, John schemed to oust his younger brother from their father’s will.
2. Social Climber Extraordinaire
Greed can manifest in various forms, and one such form is the relentless pursuit of social standing.
These characters can be incredibly charming and may initially appear generous and kind.
However, beneath the façade lies a calculating nature focused solely on climbing the social ladder, often at the expense of genuine relationships.
Example: Vanessa befriended Emily solely because she knew Emily’s family had high social standing, disregarding the feelings of her less fortunate friends.
3. Jealousy as a Fuel
Jealousy can often serve as the emotional engine driving a greedy person.
Such characters are not satisfied with what they have.
They also covet what others possess. This can lead them to take extreme measures to acquire those things.
And their actions are often fueled by a toxic blend of jealousy and competitiveness.
Example: Mark couldn’t stand seeing his colleague’s success, so he spread rumors to tarnish her reputation.
4. Manipulator of Relationships
Greed doesn’t just have to be about material possessions or social standing.
It can also infiltrate relationships. These characters see relationships as transactional—tools to be used for personal gain.
They may feign love, friendship, or loyalty, but their actions reveal a more sinister motive.
Example: Sarah pretended to love her elderly husband, all while eyeing the impending inheritance.
5. Chasing Fame at All Costs
Some people’s greed centers on the spotlight.
These characters want all eyes on them and are willing to do whatever it takes, ethical or not, to stay in the limelight.
They may plagiarize, sabotage others, or even risk their own well-being for a few moments of fame.
Example: Betty submitted her classmate’s artwork as her own in a national competition just for a chance at fame.
6. Eyes Bigger Than the Stomach
Greed can also manifest as an inability to be satisfied with what one has, leading to ambitions that exceed one’s capabilities.
Such characters are never content; they always want more.
Whether it’s jobs, projects, or personal conquests, their hunger for more often leaves them overextended and unfulfilled.
Example: Despite having a fulfilling job, Tom was always angling for a higher position, even if it meant sabotaging his colleagues.
7. Relentless Deal-Maker
Greedy characters can be relentless in making deals that benefit them.
They might think that if they win, someone else has to lose.
Such characters often lack empathy and are unable to form genuine relationships because they are always eyeing the next transaction.
Example: Emily spent her family gatherings networking rather than genuinely engaging with her loved ones.
8. Skewed Sense of Entitlement
A skewed sense of entitlement is often found in greedy individuals.
They feel as if the world owes them more than they owe to the world.
Such an inflated sense of self-importance means they believe they are deserving of special treatment.
And they don’t hesitate to claim more than their fair share.
Example: Steven always claimed the biggest share of any group reward, arguing that he deserved it more than anyone else.
9. The Opportunist
The opportunist is ever-watchful, ever-ready to seize an opportunity that will serve their own ends.
Often without regard for the consequences for others.
Whether it’s exploiting a loophole, bending the rules, or taking advantage of someone’s misfortune, they are always on the lookout for ways to benefit themselves.
Example: When Lisa found out a coworker was leaving, she immediately campaigned for the soon-to-be-vacant office, disregarding her coworker’s feelings.
10. Addicted to Winning
Some greedy people derive immense satisfaction from winning, especially if it means others must lose.
They don’t just want to win; they want to be the only ones standing at the end.
This addiction can make them ruthless competitors, willing to go to any lengths to ensure their victory.
Even if it means ruining others in the process.
Example: Mike reveled in short-selling stocks of companies he knew would fail, indifferent to the employees who would lose their jobs.
11. Unyielding Control Freak
Control can be another manifestation of greed.
The need to control people, situations, and outcomes allows the greedy character to manipulate circumstances in their favor.
They’re often highly strategic, employing calculated moves to ensure that control stays firmly in their hands.
Example: Karen insisted on controlling every aspect of the family business, refusing to delegate even minor tasks, lest she lose an iota of control.
12. Eroding Moral Boundaries
Greed can lead to a blurring or complete erosion of ethical or moral boundaries.
Such a character may start off with some level of integrity.
But they become increasingly corrupt as they continue to pursue their greedy objectives.
Example: Initially, Paul only bent the rules slightly, but his greed soon led him to engage in outright fraud.
13. Overconfidence to the Point of Arrogance
The greed-driven individual often has an inflated sense of their own abilities, which fuels their endless quest for more.
This overconfidence may manifest as arrogance.
Ultimately, blinding them to their own flaws and leading them to underestimate others.
Example: George was so confident in his investment skills that he ignored sound advice, leading to his financial ruin.
14. Consumed by Materialism
Some characters are so taken by material wealth that they lose sight of what’s genuinely important in life.
Family, friendships, and personal growth may take a backseat as they chase after the newest and shiniest toys.
Example: Linda spent more time shopping for luxury goods than she did with her own children.
15. Master of Rationalization
Characters consumed by greed are often skilled at rationalizing their behavior.
Whether they are exploiting others or engaging in unethical activities, they have an uncanny ability to justify their actions.
At least in their own minds.
Example: Tony always had an excuse for why he had to cheat his business partners, convincing himself he was the real victim.
16. Emotional Blackmailer
Emotional manipulation is another tactic commonly employed by the greedy.
They use guilt, obligation, or fear to get what they want, disregarding the emotional toll their behavior takes on others.
Example: Emma guilt-tripped her best friend into loaning her money, knowing she’d be too uncomfortable to say no.
17. Parasitic Lifestyle
Some greedy individuals lead a parasitic lifestyle, depending on the efforts and resources of others to maintain their standard of living.
Rather than seeking to contribute, they focus on extracting as much as they can from those around them.
Example: Jack lived off his wealthy parents, showing no interest in finding a job or contributing to the household.
18. The Spin Doctor
Greedy characters often possess excellent PR skills.
They can spin almost any situation to make themselves look good, often at the expense of others.
This makes them particularly dangerous, as they can often deceive people into thinking they are far less selfish than they actually are.
Example: Susan managed to convince the entire community she was a philanthropist while funneling charity money into her own accounts.
19. Unsatisfied and Restless
No matter how much they have, greedy characters are perennially unsatisfied.
They’re always restless, always looking for the next thing that will finally make them feel fulfilled—although it never does.
That is the catch-22 of greed.
Example: Despite achieving his goal of becoming CEO, Robert was already plotting his next move to acquire more power.
20. The Chameleon
The greedy individual often adapts their persona to fit the situation.
They become whoever they need to be to get what they want.
This makes them particularly hard to catch, as they can be likable and charismatic when they need to be.
It also makes them inauthentic.
They may morph so often that they forget who they really are inside.
Example: To secure an investor, Alice pretended to be passionate about environmental causes, despite having no real interest.
21. Living Beyond Means
To maintain the illusion of wealth or success, some greedy individuals live far beyond their means.
They may rack up significant debt or engage in risky financial behavior to sustain their lavish lifestyle.
Example: Gary was always the first to have the latest tech gadgets and luxury items, though he was secretly drowning in debt.
Check out this good video about how to describe a greedy person:
30 Best Words to Describe a Greedy Person
Let’s look at some of the best words to describe a greedy person in writing.
30 Best Phrases to Describe a Greedy Person
To learn how to describe a greedy person in writing, consider using some of these phrases:
- Hungry for more
- Out for oneself
- Never enough
- Eyes bigger than the stomach
- Feathering one’s own nest
- Cutting corners for personal gain
- Willing to sell one’s soul
- Bottomless pit of desires
- Would steal the pennies off a dead man’s eyes
- On a never-ending quest for more
- Tighter than a duck’s rear
- Wolf in sheep’s clothing
- Consumed by material wealth
- Living beyond one’s means
- A master of manipulation
- Opportunist at heart
- Sharp as a tack but twice as flat
- Always looking out for number one
- Values possessions over people
- Sly as a fox
- Always has an angle
- A vulture circling overhead
- The epitome of selfishness
- Ruthless deal-maker
- Slick operator
- Heart as cold as ice
- Thicker skin than a rhinoceros
- Exploits every opportunity
- Values the letter of the law over the spirit
3 Examples of Describing a Greedy Character in Writing
I love examples when I’m learning so here are three full examples of how to describe a greedy person in writing.
The examples are in three different genres:
- Crime thriller
- Romantic drama
- Fantasy adventure
Marcus was the epitome of greed. A deceptive, cunning, and ruthless individual, he was always out for oneself.
No amount of wealth or power could satisfy his insatiable hunger for more. He saw life as a zero-sum game, always trying to find a way to cut corners for personal gain.
Though outwardly charming, he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, willing to exploit anyone to achieve his goals.
Samantha was a materialistic and calculative woman who was consumed by material wealth.
On the surface, she seemed sweet and innocent, but her relationships were transactional. She always had her eyes set on someone who could offer her financial or social gains, living a life that was beyond her means.
Her unscrupulous ways eventually caught up with her, leading to her lonely downfall.
Thalor, the dark sorcerer, was an avaricious and predatory man.
His magic was employed not for the benefit of mankind but to amass more power and treasures for himself. His desire was unquenchable, and his actions were ruthless. Though he had acquired ancient spells and artifacts, he was hungry for more, willing to plunder and exploit mystical realms to quench his never-ending thirst for more magical prowess.
Final Thoughts: How to Describe a Greedy Person in Writing
Every greedy person is the same but also different.
Keep in mind the personal qualities that make your greedy character different. Also, try to weave in the plot, theme, setting, and major conflict into the greedy thoughts, feelings, and actions of the person.
When you want to learn how to describe other things in writing, check out the many guides on our site.
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