jeal·​ous | \ ˈje-ləs How to pronounce jealous (audio) \

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.
2a : 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

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Other Words from jealous

jealously adverb
jealousness noun

Synonyms for jealous


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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.”

Examples of jealous in a Sentence

His success has made some of his old friends jealous. She became very jealous whenever he talked to other women. He was in a jealous rage.
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Recent Examples on the Web But, in terms of Covid-19 vaccinations Canadians are jealous of Americans. Joshua Cohen, Forbes, "O Canada: Woefully Behind On Vaccinations, And Seeing A Surge In Cases Of Variants Of Concern," 9 Apr. 2021 But this year’s green egg has a little darker green tone, probably from the green that comes from being jealous of all of the other surrounding counties now completing their second wave of turf fields at their high schools and recreation facilities. Bird Brown,, "Bird Brown: Counting my eggs and hoping for some sports sweets this Easter | COMMENTARY," 4 Apr. 2021 Apple’s ecosystem and has a display that makes other laptops jealous. Michael Andronico, CNN Underscored, "The best laptops of 2021," 1 Apr. 2021 But in Ovid’s retelling, written about 700 years later, Circe, in a jealous fit of rage, turns Scylla’s legs into a writhing mass of barking dogs. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why So Many Mythological Monsters Are Female," 31 Mar. 2021 She’s jealous of this big, bustling family Beth has built. Maggie Fremont, Vulture, "This Is Us Recap: Yours & Mine & Ours," 16 Mar. 2021 Long after her testimony ended, Hill was subjected to sexist columns describing her figure, outfit and their effects on the senators and the senators’ supposedly jealous wives. al, "Virginia Hill, Alabama-born mob queen, testified before US Senate 70 years ago," 16 Mar. 2021 Other breads are just jealous because muffins don't even really need to be dressed up. Sara Tane, Good Housekeeping, "2021 Is the Year of the English Muffin," 15 Mar. 2021 Samsung’s Premiere 4K projector will also serve as the central viewing source for your home media indoors as well, making technophiles everywhere jealous. Landon Pemper, Chron, "The best outdoor projectors and screens to create your own outdoor movie night in Houston," 15 Mar. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of jealous

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for jealous

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

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Time Traveler for jealous

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for jealous

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jealous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for jealous



English Language Learners Definition of jealous

: feeling or showing an unhappy or angry desire to have what someone else has
: feeling or showing unhappiness or anger because you think that someone you love (such as your husband or wife) likes or is liked by someone else
somewhat formal : very concerned about protecting or keeping something


jeal·​ous | \ ˈje-ləs How to pronounce jealous (audio) \

Kids Definition of jealous

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 sense 1, watchful We are jealous of our rights.

Other Words from jealous

jealously adverb

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