envy

noun
en·​vy | \ ˈen-vē How to pronounce envy (audio) \
plural envies

Definition of envy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage
2 obsolete : malice
3 : an object of envious notice or feeling his new car made him the envy of his friends

envy

verb
envied; envying

Definition of envy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to feel envy toward or on account of
2 obsolete : begrudge

intransitive verb

obsolete : to feel or show envy

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Other Words from envy

Verb

envyingly \ ˈen-​vē-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce envyingly (audio) \ adverb

Jealousy vs. Envy

Depending on who you ask, jealousy and envy are either exact synonyms, totally different words, or near-synonyms with some degree of semantic overlap and some differences. It is difficult to make the case, based on the evidence of usage that we have, for either of the first two possibilities. Both jealousy and envy are often used to indicate that a person is covetous of something that someone else has, but jealousy carries the particular sense of “zealous vigilance” and tends to be applied more exclusively to feelings of protectiveness regarding one’s own advantages or attachments. In the domain of romance, it is more commonly found than envy. If you were to say “your salt-shaker collection fills me with jealousy,” most people would take it to mean much the same thing as “your salt-shaker collection fills me with envy.” But if someone made a flirtatious comment to your partner, you would likely say that it caused you jealousy, not envy.

Examples of envy in a Sentence

Noun my envy of his success Their exotic vacations inspired envy in their friends. We watched with envy as the yacht slid past us. Verb I envy you for your large group of friends. I envy the way you've made so many friends.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Well, these days kids are going on epic global adventures that will make your 10-year-old self green with envy. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "Bozoma Saint John And Her Daughter Lael Are On The Cutest European Escape," 9 July 2019 The recent posting of her new 'mansion' has me green with envy. Ask Amy, al, "Ask Amy: Oh, the irony in this guy trying to control his wife’s decision," 24 May 2019 In the case of two people, there is always some division (maybe involving multiple cuts) that is simultaneously envy-free, equitable and efficient. Quanta Magazine, "All Is Not Fair in Cake-Cutting and Math," 7 Oct. 2016 Jackson Gibbs Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have been the envy of corporate America, admired for their size, influence and remarkable growth. New York Times, "How Each Big Tech Company May Be Targeted by Regulators," 8 Sep. 2019 And a list of other accomplishments that’s the envy of just about any short-track open-wheel racer. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "From standout scholar to star racer to ... what's next for Kody Swanson?," 28 June 2018 And of course, in true envy-worthy Instagram fashion, every object is meticulously arranged and organized in the snapshots. Kelsey Kloss, ELLE Decor, "Book Bento Is Every Bookworm's Dream Come True," 2 May 2016 Lenders like Commonwealth Bank were once the envy of the world. Washington Post, "Even for a Bank, 12,000 Job Cuts Seems Excessive," 18 Sep. 2019 The book, out this week, traces Kalanick’s trajectory from floundering startup founder to the envy of Silicon Valley to the epitome of tech evil, and with him a decade of excess and self-delusion. Wired, "WIRED Book of the Month: Super Pumped by Mike Isaac," 3 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Davies matched her power and passion but also brought a purity of tone that Janis would have envied. Andrea Simakis, cleveland, "‘Summer: The Donna Summer Musical’ at Playhouse Square is long on the songs but woefully short on story," 13 Oct. 2019 Her stunning rise led to envy at the Persian court. National Geographic, "Did Queen Esther’s beauty or bravery foil a massacre?," 8 Mar. 2019 While Meghan has always been envied for her incredible ring game, the royal tour has been an opportunity for the Duchess to showcase some intricate, and surprising, necklaces. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's Unique Necklace Is a Symbol of Strength and Integrity," 31 Oct. 2018 Dawson and Blanda led vertical passing games envied by young AFL fans such as Terry Bradshaw, who, according to Ed Gruver’s historical account The American Football League, cherished his Spalding J5-V Christmas gift from his father as a 9-year-old. SI.com, "A History of Football in 100 Objects," 28 Aug. 2019 Politicians often live like feudal overlords, traveling in a style that even Mansa Musa would envy. Sean Williams, Harper's magazine, "The Black Axe," 19 Aug. 2019 Some experts wonder if China secretly envies the ability of American judges in civil suits to demand the seizure of assets on the other side of the world. The Economist, "A belt-and-road court dreams of rivalling the West’s tribunals," 6 June 2019 Americans, though, as a rule don’t envy what others have. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Envy and American Art," 22 Aug. 2019 But there is a competitive element, too, the directors said: Some parents race to share the photos on social media as a way to curate their kids’ childhood and offer visual evidence that their family is worth envying. Drew Harwell, The Denver Post, "Summer camps use facial recognition so parents can watch from home," 25 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'envy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of envy

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for envy

Noun

Middle English envie, from Anglo-French, from Latin invidia, from invidus envious, from invidēre to look askance at, envy, from in- + vidēre to see — more at wit

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Statistics for envy

Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for envy

The first known use of envy was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for envy

envy

noun
How to pronounce envy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of envy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the feeling of wanting to have what someone else has
: someone or something that causes envy

envy

verb

English Language Learners Definition of envy (Entry 2 of 2)

: to feel a desire to have what someone else has : to feel envy because of (someone or something)

envy

noun
en·​vy | \ ˈen-vē How to pronounce envy (audio) \
plural envies

Kids Definition of envy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a feeling of unhappiness over another's good fortune together with a desire to have the same good fortune He was filled with envy on seeing her success.
2 : a person or a thing that is envied

envy

verb
envied; envying

Kids Definition of envy (Entry 2 of 2)

: to feel unhappiness over the good fortune of (someone) and desire the same good fortune : feel envy toward or because of I envy you for your talent.

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More from Merriam-Webster on envy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for envy

Spanish Central: Translation of envy

Nglish: Translation of envy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of envy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on envy

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