envy

noun
en·vy | \ˈen-vē \
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 \ 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

The Kremlin discerns a bit of envy, as well, on the part of the American president. Washington Post, "How the Kremlin turned the Russian president into a global icon," 12 July 2018 No one does summertime quite like Britney Spears, whose envy-worthy abs are always screaming for a bikini pic opportunity. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Beat the Heat With Britney Spears' Poolside Instagram Photos," 6 July 2018 Our Revolution has shown no ability to tip a major Democratic election in its favor — despite possessing Sanders’ email list, the envy of the Democratic Party — and can claim no major wins in 2018 as its own. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Sanders Announces Reelection Bid as Negative Buzz Builds About Our Revolution," 22 May 2018 Twentieth-century America will forever be remembered for two wildlife funding sources now the envy of the world: The Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson excise tax programs. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Wildlife groups push bill to restore non-game species," 18 Apr. 2018 Their current dynasty was built on shrewd draft picks and unique foresight that has become the envy of the league. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Breaking down the best and worst NBA draft picks at every position 1 through 10," 19 June 2018 German football became the envy of the world, their renowned will to win now wrapped in a stylish and charismatic package. Brian Straus, SI.com, "Germany's World Cup Title Defense Aided By San Jose Earthquakes, Silicon Valley," 12 June 2018 In the pre-crisis era, Goldman’s human traders made billions of dollars in profit and became the envy of their peers by using the company’s balance sheet to take risks. Hugh Son, Bloomberg.com, "Wall Street’s Big Banks Are Waging an All-Out Technological Arms Race," 5 Apr. 2018 While many in those nations have expressed pride and joy that a Balkan country has made it to the final, Croatia's stellar achievement also has caused envy and nationalist outbursts evoking the war era. Jovana Gec, Fox News, "Mixed emotions in Balkans over Croatia's World Cup success," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

From heirloom tiaras to world-famous diamonds, the Queen’s jewelry collection is something to be envied. Erin Hill, PEOPLE.com, "Queen Elizabeth Gave Meghan Markle a Gorgeous Pair of Earrings for Their First Trip Together," 14 June 2018 But a little wet snow north of D.C. late tonight, and another system to watch next weekend, gives us snow lovers at least a chance that Lloyd Christmas would envy. Brian Jackson, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Still on the mild side today, then a little wet snow possible late tonight," 1 Apr. 2018 For all their aspirations to stand on even footing with the U.S. atop the global heap, the Chinese don’t envy western democracy or free-market capitalism. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Beijing trade talks conclude with no progress. Get ready for a long slog.," 4 May 2018 Part of me misses these late nights—and envies those who still take advantage of them. Lindsey Lanquist, SELF, "16 Night Owls Reveal What They Do While the Rest of the World Is Sleeping," 14 June 2018 Thirty three years after the film debuted in theaters, The Karate Kid still has a pop culture grasp on audiences that most science fiction series would envy. Chris Morris, Fortune, "'The Karate Kid': 33 Years of Pop Culture Domination Culminates in 'Cobra Kai,' a YouTube Sequel," 2 May 2018 Body-conscious Jordan, who hides his flesh in a polo shirt, memorizes every ripple in Will’s torso while envying the cement for soaking up the water dripping off his body. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "Say 'I do' to 'Significant Other,' the rare romantic comedy with depth to match the laughs," 13 Apr. 2018 Katherine Langford's long mane of curls is gorgeous enough to inspire major hair envy 365 days a year, but her latest hair look might be an all-time favorite. Karina Hoshikawa, Teen Vogue, "Katherine Langford Wears a High Ponytail for “Love, Simon” Screening," 9 Mar. 2018 For a town prone to envy its neighbors’ advancements and to resent its own second-tier status in the sports world, here was tangible progress and a legitimate source of pride. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Soccer stadium start signals new possibilities for Possibility City," 28 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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Dictionary Entries near envy

envoi

envoûtement

envoy

envy

enweave

enwheel

enwind

Phrases Related to envy

green with envy

object of envy

Statistics for envy

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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 \
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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