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

Jackson Gibbs Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have been the envy of corporate America, admired for their size, influence and remarkable growth. New York Times, "How Each Big Tech Company May Be Targeted by Regulators," 8 Sep. 2019 And a list of other accomplishments that’s the envy of just about any short-track open-wheel racer. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "From standout scholar to star racer to ... what's next for Kody Swanson?," 28 June 2018 And of course, in true envy-worthy Instagram fashion, every object is meticulously arranged and organized in the snapshots. Kelsey Kloss, ELLE Decor, "Book Bento Is Every Bookworm's Dream Come True," 2 May 2016 Lenders like Commonwealth Bank were once the envy of the world. Washington Post, "Even for a Bank, 12,000 Job Cuts Seems Excessive," 18 Sep. 2019 The book, out this week, traces Kalanick’s trajectory from floundering startup founder to the envy of Silicon Valley to the epitome of tech evil, and with him a decade of excess and self-delusion. Wired, "WIRED Book of the Month: Super Pumped by Mike Isaac," 3 Sep. 2019 With fewer than four weeks left in the regular season, the Giants’ bullpen looks nothing like the group that was once the envy of every NL contender. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants’ bullpen flipped upside down, new arrivals expected to take over key jobs," 2 Sep. 2019 Conservatives detest American institutions that are the envy of the world, from Silicon Valley to Harvard. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Is Patriotism Possible?," 21 Aug. 2019 This could have been the season Michael Kopech, Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease and Robert all joined forces on the South Side, creating a nucleus that would make the Sox the envy of baseball. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Luis Robert looks ready for the majors. Will the White Sox call him up in September or make their fans wait?," 15 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Americans, though, as a rule don’t envy what others have. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Envy and American Art," 22 Aug. 2019 But there is a competitive element, too, the directors said: Some parents race to share the photos on social media as a way to curate their kids’ childhood and offer visual evidence that their family is worth envying. Drew Harwell, The Denver Post, "Summer camps use facial recognition so parents can watch from home," 25 Aug. 2019 The artists range in size, age and backgrounds, but they are dressed in works of their own creation showing details even the devil can envy. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "To cosplay or not to cosplay: All are welcome in the community, just don’t bring color into it," 22 Aug. 2019 The unapologetic and triumphalist Chinese belief in the superiority of the Chinese way has its envying admirers in the United States, to be sure. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Is Patriotism Possible?," 21 Aug. 2019 But there is a competitive element, too, the directors said: Some parents race to share the photos on social media as a way to curate their kids’ childhood and offer visual evidence that their family is worth envying. Drew Harwell, Washington Post, "As summer camps turn on facial recognition, parents demand: More smiles, please," 9 Aug. 2019 Boasting a front that some colleges may envy, coach Doug Ramsey's Panthers are after their first league title in four years with some blockers who remind many of the 2002 and 2003 Division I state champion teams. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, "Elder football's offensive line has possible projected NFL players," 4 Aug. 2019 Being a Petty Betty who wastes their energy envying Instagrams isn't going to get you anywhere. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "I Can't Stop Comparing Myself to People on Instagram," 11 June 2019 Focus on making money to achieve your financial dreams instead of envying others. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope July 19, 2019: Happy birthday Jared Padalecki; Cancer, focus on making money," 19 July 2019

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

13 Oct 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 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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