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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Like all romance writers, she’s been accused of cliché, but her thematic consistency should make all the literary fiction girlies (girlies here being a gender neutral phrase) jealous. Jenny Singer, Glamour, 9 May 2022 Diana was a 'very jealous mother,' said deputy nanny Olga Powell, who later replaced Barnes. Emily Burack, Town & Country, 1 May 2022 In her second home, Mercy finds new friends but also danger in the form of an affectionate employer, his jealous wife and the wife’s predatory son, who stalks and threatens Mercy and a fellow servant. Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, 21 Apr. 2022 An iconic movie star (Josh Brolin, in this case) plays a Wyoming ranch patriarch who must reckon with internal family drama, jealous neighbors, and trouble with the local law enforcement. Christian Holub,, 14 Apr. 2022 Bravo says her stars’ real connection was the opposite of the jealous, competitive vibe Stefani brought to her relationship with Zola. Kathleen Newman-bremang,, 13 Apr. 2022 Despite this, the two eventually get engaged, which makes Penelope even more jealous. Kelsie Gibson,, 20 Mar. 2022 The Rich History of Kohl as a Sacred Practice In South Asia, traditional kohl transcends surface-level beauty and is often used as a form of protection against the evil eye, a jealous gaze believed to cause fatalistic harm and injury. Stephanie Gonot, Allure, 20 Mar. 2022 Is the comment a bit of jealous braggadocio, or is Vic actually a cold-blooded killer? David Sims, The Atlantic, 16 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Jealous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for jealous


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

More from Merriam-Webster on jealous

Nglish: Translation of jealous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jealous for Arabic Speakers


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