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 However, Disney is still Disney — a company with a beloved brand and an array of franchises that remain the envy of the industry. Frank Pallotta, CNN, "Disney faces an unknown future as coronavirus hobbles its media empire," 4 May 2020 The Vermont senator, who dropped out of White House contention last week, wielded his email list, the envy of most political operations, to boost the DNC Friday. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Bernie Sanders fundraises for DNC after saying he had no plans to help Biden with donors," 17 Apr. 2020 In Hong Kong, the home of schools that are the envy of high-achieving and aspirational parents everywhere, education is making a huge shift. Lucy Craymer, WSJ, "Coronavirus Prompts a Whole City to Try Home Schooling," 26 Feb. 2020 Our public transit system, already the envy of Valley cities, continues to expand. Paulina Pineda, azcentral, "Tempe election: Mayoral and council hopefuls respond to questions on city issues," 14 Feb. 2020 Not only is the 49ers superstar playing for a Super Bowl championship this weekend, but the former fifth-round pick also seems to be the envy and idol of nearly every tight end prospect entering April's 2020 NFL Draft. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Colts Insider: Senior Bowl TE standouts and why they all want to be George Kittle," 27 Jan. 2020 What stands out most his client list, the envy of many other agents. Ronald Blum, The Denver Post, "Scott Boras’ billions: Baseball agent creates free-agent flurry," 18 Dec. 2019 Their trip inspired some serious date night envy (not pictured: whether their kids tagged along) among the pink candy-themed exhibits. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds Take a Stroll in New York City Together," 16 Jan. 2020 What follows is a strange tale of middle-class repression and envy, featuring funny supporting performances by skilled comic actors like Beck Bennett, Neil Casey and D’Arcy Carden. Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times, "Ravenous alligators are loose in a flooded basement in ‘Crawl’: What could possibly go wrong?," 12 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Rather than envy others, work toward creating for yourself. oregonlive, "Horoscope for May 20, 2020: Happy birthday Timothy Olyphant; Cancer, use clear thinking," 20 May 2020 That may not last FEW WOULD envy their political leaders at times like this. The Economist, "Troubling symptoms The perils of politics in a pandemic," 13 Apr. 2020 But the celebrated bookseller, publisher and former San Francisco poet laureate nevertheless maintains an active lifestyle — and life of the mind — that anyone far younger would envy. John Mcmurtrie, San Francisco Chronicle, "Ferlinghetti speaks out at 99, his voice as vital as ever," 21 Mar. 2018 Beth is actually just envying Laurie’s vitality because she’s sick, but Jo thinks Beth is in love. Washington Post, "We watched 15 straight hours of ‘Little Women,’ and things got weird," 23 Dec. 2019 And so begins a tale in which the two hurt, love, goad and envy each other, traversing the spectrum of interpersonal behaviors from cruelty to utter tenderness. Time Staff, Time, "The 10 Best Fiction Books of the 2010s," 12 Nov. 2019 The Bruins are the team so many envy around the league. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Tough two-game stretch vs. Bruins, Blues will be the ‘measuring stick’ that proves if the Stars are true contenders," 26 Feb. 2020 Pardee and the Oilers are such a perfect match, Ozzie and Harriet would envy it. J.r. Gonzales, Houston Chronicle, "New coaches and unsolved mysteries: This was the Houston area in January 1990," 24 Jan. 2020 Plenty of other businesses have long envied them for it. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, "Big Mass. employers join together to push for corporate tax switch," 8 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for envy

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for envy

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Envy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/envy. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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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