jeal·​ous | \ˈje-ləs \

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 & Antonyms for jealous


covetous, envious, green-eyed, invidious, jaundiced, resentful



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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

The comforter could probably make clouds jealous with its soft touch. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "I Used to Wake Up Sweating In the Middle of The Night — This Blanket Changed That," 27 Aug. 2018 Apparently, some people were getting free olive oil, and their neighbors became jealous. David Becker,, "Major study on Mediterranean Diet was retracted, but this cardiologist recommends this way of eating," 19 June 2018 When the Ball brothers were asked if their teammates were jealous, LiAngelo didn’t hesitate to say yes. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "LiAngelo Ball said that his Lithuanian teammates were jealous of him," 14 June 2018 Ulfr became jealous when Scarr started dating someone, deputies wrote. David Harris,, "Seminole County woman found dead was bound with duct tape, deputies say," 12 Apr. 2018 Probably about as proud as every bitcoin investor who bought into it in these past few months is jealous—those prices are high now, and its worth is fluctuating like crazy. Sarah Rense, Esquire, "50 Cent Accidentally Made $8 Million in Bitcoin," 25 Jan. 2018 The accompanying video features jealous detractors called out with expletives and over-the-top Cristal consumption. Spencer Shroyer, Anchorage Daily News, "12 songs to brush up on before seeing Nas, one of the greatest rappers alive," 7 June 2018 Elvira had a jealous streak, and Puccini had affairs. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "Indy Opera will perform a major opera about love, written by a composer known for cheating," 16 May 2018 The on-again-off-again couple, who have gotten back together several times over, were rumored to have ended their romance for good earlier this year, with Bieber hanging out with Baskin Champion to allegedly try to make Gomez jealous. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Selena Gomez Is on a Yacht with Friends Amid Justin Bieber Engagement News," 8 July 2018

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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Statistics for jealous

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for jealous

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

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More Definitions for jealous


jeal·​ous | \ˈje-ləs \

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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Comments on jealous

What made you want to look up jealous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


noxious or harmful

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