greed and rapacity

Couch Tomato

Senior Member
Russian & Dutch
It is the wartime inflation that mainly causes the pressure for price-fixing. At the time of writing, when practically every country is inflating, though most of them are at peace, price controls are always hinted at, even when they are not imposed. Though they are always economically harmful, if not destructive, they have at least a political advantage from the standpoint of the officeholders. By implication they put the blame for higher prices on the greed and rapacity of businessmen, instead of on the inflationary monetary policies of the officeholders themselves.
(Economics in One Lesson - Henry Hazlitt)
ra‧pa‧cious / rəˈpeɪʃəs / adjective formal
always wanting more money, goods etc than you need or have a right to SYN greedy : rapacious landlords
rapaciously adverb
rapacity / rəˈpæsəti, rəˈpæsɪti / noun [ uncountable ]
(Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)
Doesn't "rapacity" mean the same thing as "greed" in the above context? If so, is one of the words superfluous?
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    They're pretty much synonymous, and dictionaries typically use one to define the other. But in use, in my observation, greedy often describes a person's attitude or feelings, while rapacious describes actual behavior.


    Senior Member
    Quite so.
    Here from WR is a more complete definition of "rapacious":
    rapacious /rəˈpeɪʃəs/adj
    • practising pillage or rapine
    • greedy or grasping
    • (of animals, esp birds) subsisting by catching living prey
    Remember the linguistic connection with "rapine" which is "the seizure of property by force". "Greed" does not necessarily imply taking anything from another.
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