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

Ross reported the story for a year and a half, largely from Los Angeles and its environs, and was given envy-inducing access, the kind a writer would rarely get today, to its central players. The New Yorker, "What We’re Reading This Summer," 4 June 2019 Some studies have shown that social media can have a negative influence on mental health, creating envy, increasing anxiety, and fostering poor body image. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "The #RealConvo Campaign Wants to Make Instagram a More Honest Place," 2 May 2019 Prepare for hair envy: Twitter took notice of Keery's epic do, with fans of both Harrington and the hair freaking out. Lynsey Eidell, Allure, "Twitter Reacts to Stranger Things' Joe Keery's Sky-High Hair at the 2018 Emmys Red Carpet," 17 Sep. 2018 The bright ends stretching out to the heavens is enough to clear up any gloomy fall day, and give us all kinds of hair envy. Kelsi Zimmerman, Allure, "21 Bronde Hair Ideas That Look Amazing on Everyone," 7 Oct. 2018 Though her Fixer Upper days are over, Joanna Gaines is still giving us plenty of design envy. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Designed the Bedroom of Every Boy's Dreams for Sons Drake and Duke," 22 Sep. 2018 The concept that a country — especially one, like Belgium, with a population of just 11 million — might have found a way to ensure a constant flow of young talent is a source first of envy, and then inspiration. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Belgium’s Blueprint, Croatia’s Chaos, and the Murky Path to World Cup Glory," 10 July 2018 Did you, at one point in your childhood, harbor deeply intense feelings of envy about Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s various direct-to-video movie adventures? refinery29.com, "Becca Kufrin Had Her Own Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen Moment On The Bachelorette," 30 June 2018 Watching him trot around the globe week to week engendered only the warmest of envies. Drew Magary, GQ, "Anthony Bourdain Was the Most Interesting Man in the World," 9 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Over the past few years, tiny homes, the epitome of simple, easy living in minimal square footage, have taken over our Instagram feeds and made us envy those who could live such full lives in these extremely small spaces. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Love Tiny Homes? Now You Can Build Your Own," 1 Mar. 2019 The couple recently celebrated their two-year anniversary and gave each other the sweetest, most revealing messages on Instagram. Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez—still giving us relationship envy! Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez' Valentines Day Plans Involved 'Dirty Dancing'," 15 Feb. 2019 Getty Images There is a lot to envy about Meghan Markle, and this week, the aspect of the Duchess that people are falling over themselves to emulate are her brows. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Here's Why People Are Copying Meghan Markle's Eyebrows," 27 Jan. 2019 Despite his success, Malcolm envied the yearly Fortune 500, a competitor’s ranking of top businesses that had become a lucrative, internationally known franchise. Jonathan Greenberg, Town & Country, "How to Get a Spot Among the Billionaires on the Forbes 400 List," 15 Jan. 2019 Dakota Johnson's style is regularly envied, and this weekend's look is no exception. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Dakota Johnson Looks Exactly Like Cinderella in This Intricate Gucci Gown," 9 Dec. 2018 Every once in a while, a Wall Street Journal columnist envies the punctuation of people who don’t have to follow a stylebook. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "Mutual Funds Just Can’t Seem to Stop Slipping Up," 31 Aug. 2018 The economic picture is one any president would envy. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "How the President Steps on His Own Good News," 20 Aug. 2018 Busch could ride off into the sunset today and have a career most drivers would envy. Mike Hembree, USA TODAY, "At 33, Kyle Busch has accomplished much, but his resume has one big hole," 1 June 2018

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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Learn More about envy

Dictionary Entries near envy

envoi

envoûtement

envoy

envy

enweave

enwheel

enwind

Statistics for envy

Last Updated

9 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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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