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 all the talk of wondrous European health-care systems, the American generics system is the envy of the world. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Sticking it to Pharma—With Competition," 19 Nov. 2018 The protagonist is Blair Waldorf, a beauty who is the envy of her friends. Sarah Grace Hart, Teen Vogue, "Lindsay Lohan Almost Starred in a "Gossip Girl" Movie," 6 Nov. 2018 Your window boxes are the envy of the neighborhood. Brie Dyas, House Beautiful, "12 Signs You Live in an All-American Home," 10 June 2015 The Warriors play the beautiful game, leaving coaches across America in envy, but things can change in the playoffs. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Now it’s nervous time for the Warriors," 22 May 2018 Joanna Gaines shared a snap of baby Crew sleeping in his cozy nursery at their farmhouse and the small glimpse is enough to give us some serious room envy. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Take a Peek Inside Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Farmhouse Nursery for Baby Crew," 2 July 2018 Saddled with massive expectations and a lineup of talent the envy of others in the tournament, Belgium finally showed flashes of being the dominant team worthy of title consideration. Tim Booth, chicagotribune.com, "Romelu Lukaku scores twice as Belgium rolls past Panama 3-0," 18 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

8 Dec 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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