Posted by TheFallen on November 09, 2002
In Reply to: Beyond the dreams of avarice posted by Andrea Ford on November 09, 2002
: Origin and definition?
: I have heard it in the past and I have recently come across it many times in fictional reading.
Definition first. If someone is "rich beyond the dreams of avarice", it means that one has more money than even someone obsessed with the pursuit of wealth could dream of. Avarice is one of the seven deadly sins.
As to origin, from what I can discover, there's two potential sources. According to Boswell, the biographer of the life of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), the latter used the phrase "The potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice." However, Johnson's contemporary, a playwright called Edward Moore (1712-1757) uses the phrase "I am rich beyond the dreams of avarice." in his play The Gamester. So, it's one of these two fine notables.