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 This is especially true for Will Smith, who recently admitted to feeling jealous of his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s friendship with the late rap icon Tupac Shakur. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Will Smith Admits He Once 'Couldn't Handle' Jada Pinkett Smith's Friendship With Tupac Shakur," 13 Jan. 2020 The sight of my 100 percent full glass inspired my jealous and thrifty dinner mate to order the Joan bubbles, which were big popping bubbles of cava—the perfect companion to the cheesy burger. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, "Go to The Riddler. Get Your Wine Glass Filled to the Brim.," 23 Dec. 2019 Dolittle’s ship is being pursued by a jealous medical school rival, Michael Sheen as Dr. Blair Mudfly, who is a collaborator in the assassination attempt on the queen. Chuck Yarborough, cleveland, "Robert Downey Jr. creates another likely franchise with delightful, funny ‘Dolittle’," 15 Jan. 2020 His thoughts, which viewers hear as a voiceover throughout the series, point to a desire to avoid the jealous rages that ensnared him in the past. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "How to Make a Self-Aware Show About a Serial Killer," 30 Dec. 2019 Petrova’s supersized voice raged with piercing power as the jealous Pharaoh’s daughter Amneris. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Power-voiced princesses highlight San Diego Opera’s season-opening ‘Aida’," 20 Oct. 2019 Room 311, also known as known as Annalisa Netherly’s room, is haunted by the ghost of Annalisa Netherly, a guest who was allegedly beheaded in the bathtub by a jealous lover in the 1920s. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: Could You Handle Spending a Night in One of the Most Haunted Hotel Rooms in America?," 30 Sep. 2019 He was inundated with interview requests—and the usual jealous cries of foul play. The Editors, Field & Stream, "The 20 Best Bucks of the Decade," 27 Dec. 2019 Danone doesn’t seem jealous of its position as the B Corp community’s largest occupant. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "Danone is showing multinationals the way to a less destructive form of capitalism," 9 Dec. 2019

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

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

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Statistics for jealous

Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jealous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for jealous


How to pronounce jealous (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on jealous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jealous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jealous

Spanish Central: Translation of jealous

Nglish: Translation of jealous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jealous for Arabic Speakers

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