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Re: Avarice

Posted by Henry on March 28, 2005

In Reply to: Re: Avarice posted by R. Berg on March 25, 2005

: : I've heard this phrase since I was a kid and like others it was used in Warner Brothers cartoons. The most recent use of it I recall was by Deforest Kelly (Dr McCoy)in Star Trek 4. When he and 'Scotty' are promising the plastic manufacturer a formula for a better product in exchange for some of his current product.
: : but what does it mean? bear in mind I'm not sure of the spelling of 'averest' , just going by how it sounds.
: : I've tried several searches with no results...
: : anybody?

: Well, that's what comes of watching TV instead of reading. The word is "avarice," and with that line the "Star Trek" scriptwriters were paying tribute to something Samuel Johnson said while conducting an auction. If you take "avarice" and "Samuel Johnson" back to the search engine, you'll very likely find the source.

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.