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

For people looking for a festive thing to do, Nightmare Machine offers something that a haunted house does not: The opportunity to craft a perfectly stage-directed and envy-inducing photograph to share on social media. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "The Halloween experience in 2018 is less spooky and more selfies.," 22 Oct. 2018 The lady behind many of the envy-inducing Kardashian coifs is celebrity hair stylist and close friend of the KarJenners, Jen Atkin. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Now Your Pets Can Use the Same Shampoo as the Kardashians," 6 July 2018 Take your coffee upstairs to the small balcony overlooking the street and send off some envy-inducing, cute-coffee-between-massages-and-temples photos to friends stuck in their daily grinds back home. Cynthia Drescher, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Days in Siem Reap," 16 Apr. 2018 As cogs in a brutally efficient machine, four- and five-star players end up buried behind other blue-chippers, leaving Saban with a balancing act that makes him the envy of coaches across the country. SI.com, "Behind the Scenes with Alabama Football," 4 May 2018 Her caucus had a cohesion that would have been the envy of her Republican successor, John Boehner, who struggled to keep his team together and eventually gave up his post, all but defeated. T.a. Frank, The Hive, "In Defense of Nancy Pelosi," 18 Mar. 2018 After a first day full of classic Argentine rock, the second day's lineup was more of a motley crew, full of different genres, making the festival's offering the envy of any international festival. Billboard Argentina, Billboard, "Argentina's Cosquín Rock 2018: Unforgettable Blend of Classic, Upcoming Artists," 23 Feb. 2018 Godzilla's cartilage would be about 12 times stronger than a human's, preventing his knees from exploding like overripe tomatoes—and making him the envy of basketball players everywhere. Danielle Venton, Popular Mechanics, "The Impossible Anatomy of Godzilla," 14 May 2014 The German economy under Ms. Merkel is the envy of much of the world. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Voters Rebel in Europe’s Big Three," 10 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 No team is in better position to cash in and make a deal for another star (which could get scary fast), but sitting back and letting things play out is a scenario most teams would envy as well. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Which Franchise Has the Brighter Future: 76ers or Celtics?," 8 May 2018 The youth-unemployment rate in Germany is much lower than in other European countries; its manufacturing prowess is widely envied. The Economist, "A welcome upgrade to apprenticeships," 12 July 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

3 Feb 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 \
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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