jeal·ou·sy | \ ˈje-lə-sē \
plural jealousies

Definition of jealousy 

1 : a jealous disposition, attitude, or feeling a marriage destroyed by jealousy petty jealousies

2 : zealous vigilance cherish their official political freedom with fierce jealousy —Paul Blanshard

Keep scrolling for more

jealousy vs. envy

Depending on who you ask, jealousy and envy are either exact synonyms, totally different words, or near-synonyms with some degree of semantic overlap and some differences. It is difficult to make the case, based on the evidence of usage that we have, for either of the first two possibilities. Both jealousy and envy are often used to indicate that a person is covetous of something that someone else has, but jealousy carries the particular sense of “zealous vigilance” and tends to be applied more exclusively to feelings of protectiveness regarding one’s own advantages or attachments. In the domain of romance, it is more commonly found than envy. If you were to say “your salt-shaker collection fills me with jealousy,” most people would take it to mean much the same thing as “your salt-shaker collection fills me with envy.” But if someone made a flirtatious comment to your partner, you would likely say that it caused you jealousy, not envy.

Examples of jealousy in a Sentence

petty jealousies among political rivals a marriage ruined by infidelity and jealousy He was driven crazy with jealousy. He was unable to control his jealousies.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

While all of these facts are actually the nightmarish circumstances of June’s repeated rapes, Serena is too blinded by her own jealousies to understand us much., "TV Loves Calling Out Cheaters Right Now," 10 July 2018 Authorities allege Pilkington killed the toddler and two infants out of jealousy at the attention her older husband gave them at the expense of her and their daughter. CBS News, "Woman charged with killing 3 sons appeals court order," 27 June 2018 Parents also should consider family dynamics if there are siblings, since helping one child can foster jealousy in the others. Liz Weston, The Seattle Times, "Can you afford to help your kid start a business?," 9 July 2018 His rowdier friend Yûsuke (Mamoru Miyano) similarly desires the girl’s affections, setting in motion a chain of misunderstanding and jealousy. Justin Chang,, "Time-travel romance, but no magic, in the Japanese anime 'Fireworks'," 2 July 2018 Qatar denies the allegations and blames the crisis on jealousy of its wealth and success on the global stage. Liz Sly, Washington Post, "Princely feuds in the Persian Gulf thwart Trump’s efforts to resolve the Qatar dispute," 13 May 2018 Their voices fill the blank room with colors of jealousy, love, sorrow, anger and bliss. Madeline Mitchell,, "Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' was turned into an opera and it's making its American debut in Cincinnati," 13 July 2018 Traveling across multiple time zones is often a cause for jealousy, not compassion. Emily Sohn, Washington Post, "Time-zone changes can leave people worried about jet lag," 7 July 2018 The Warriors, as their success grows, are a magnet for jealousy and dislike. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "A dynasty secured," 13 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of jealousy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for jealousy

see jealous

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about jealousy

Dictionary Entries near jealousy








Statistics for jealousy

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jealousy

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for jealousy



English Language Learners Definition of jealousy

: an unhappy or angry feeling of wanting to have what someone else has

: an unhappy or angry feeling caused by the belief that someone you love (such as your husband or wife) likes or is liked by someone else


jeal·ou·sy | \ ˈje-lə-sē \
plural jealousies

Kids Definition of jealousy

1 : a feeling of unhappiness and anger caused by a belief that a loved one might be unfaithful

2 : a feeling of unhappiness caused by wanting what someone else has

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on jealousy

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


to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!