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


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

Other Words from envy


envyingly \ ˈen-​vē-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce envy (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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This Halloween, make your friends green with envy by dressing up as popular comic book villain Poison Ivy. Rebecca Norris, Country Living, 15 Sep. 2022 No more whispers at the craps table, no more watching Gretzky or Messier with envy. Gene Myers, Detroit Free Press, 9 June 2022 China managing positive growth in 2020 was the envy of the world then, but today other economies are less vulnerable to the virus. Paul Swartz, Fortune, 12 Sep. 2022 In the primary, Trump’s endorsement and the boost from a rally with him were the envy of all. Isaac Arnsdorf, Michael Scherer And Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Sep. 2022 Ostin helped steer Warner/Reprise into a powerhouse that was the envy of the record world. Robert Hilburn, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2022 Be the envy of all the other kids down at the pool. al, 27 July 2022 Based on our research, a key factor linking virtue and positive mental health appears to be growth in emotion regulation, such as learning skills in mindfulness and processing complicated emotions such as shame, envy or pride. Steven Sandage, The Conversation, 22 Feb. 2022 This outlook insulates them from feelings of envy or greed that could otherwise sabotage co-working relationships during periods of high stress. Roberta Moore, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Automakers envy Tesla's surging popularity and are trying to replicate its success. The Week Staff, The Week, 3 Sep. 2022 Through decades on television, Lake, 52, built a statewide profile that many veteran politicians would envy. Melanie Mason, Los Angeles Times, 1 Aug. 2022 The online eulogy for Choco Tacos has been something even the most beloved statesman or actor would envy. Chris Morris, Fortune, 29 July 2022 It's also filled with vibrant clothing, cementing it as a closet Barbie would surely envy. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 19 July 2022 Nationally, the skateboarding world is about to envy Birmingham, Alabama. Joseph Goodman, al, 17 June 2022 Musk, of course, isn’t the first entrepreneur to envy the power of WeChat, which is owned by the Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 17 June 2022 As a kid growing up in the early 2000s, Neena Rouhani used to envy the women who could wear belly chains and scarf tops popular at the time. Frances Solá-santiago, refinery29.com, 12 Jan. 2022 Artists bound by agreements with their labels may envy this freedom, but some, including Halsey, don’t seem to have been barred from saying as much. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, 25 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of envy


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

History and Etymology for envy


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

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

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Last Updated

29 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Envy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/envy. Accessed 29 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for envy


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


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on envy

Nglish: Translation of envy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of envy for Arabic Speakers


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