adjective jeal·ous \ ˈje-ləs \
Updated on: 24 Feb 2018

Definition of jealous

1 : hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage : envious
  • His success made his old friends jealous.
  • They were jealous of his success.
2 a : intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness
  • jealous of the slightest interference in household management
  • —Havelock Ellis
b : disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness
  • a jealous husband
3 : vigilant in guarding a possession
  • new colonies were jealous of their new independence
  • —Scott Buchanan





Examples of jealous in a Sentence

  1. His success has made some of his old friends jealous.

  2. She became very jealous whenever he talked to other women.

  3. He was in a jealous rage.

Recent Examples of jealous from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jealous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

zealous vs. jealous

Zealous and jealous share not just a rhyme, but an etymology. Both words ultimately come from the Latin zelus “jealousy,” and in the past their meanings were somewhat closer to each other than they are today. In the 16th and 17th centuries, zealous occasionally was used in biblical writing to refer to a quality of apprehensiveness or jealousy of another. By the 18th century, however, it had completely diverged in meaning from jealous, signifying “warmly engaged or ardent on behalf of someone or something.” Today, zealous often carries a connotation of excessive feeling: it typically means “fiercely partisan” or “uncompromisingly enthusiastic.”

Origin and Etymology of jealous

Middle English jelous, from Anglo-French gelus, from Vulgar Latin *zelosus, from Late Latin zelus zeal — more at zeal

jealous Synonyms

JEALOUS Defined for Kids


adjective jeal·ous \ ˈje-ləs \

Definition of jealous for Students

1 : feeling anger because of the belief that a loved one might be unfaithful
  • a jealous husband
2 : feeling a mean anger toward someone because he or she is more successful
3 : careful 1, watchful
  • We are jealous of our rights.



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