jeal·​ou·​sy | \ ˈje-lə-sē How to pronounce jealousy (audio) \
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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Beginning in San Francisco as the quartet is having its graduation recital, the novel records all the battle scars of their lives, including the full-throttle force of ambition, jealousy and resentment. Caroline Leavitt, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘The Ensemble,’ by Aja Gabel," 17 May 2018 More than anything, this is a show that understands female jealousy and all its dark corners. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "In Killing Eve, Two Women Are Fed Up and Dangerous," 6 Apr. 2018 For a woman of Hayek’s accomplishments, such trivial jealousies are not to be taken seriously. Elizabeth Day, Town & Country, "Salma Hayek Isn't Going to Let Anyone Define Her," 6 Mar. 2019 During the trial, prosecutors revealed Kasian’s grisly death stemmed from Leibel’s jealousy and anger over the baby as well as his need for power and control over his fiancée, the spokesperson tells PEOPLE. Alexia Fernandez,, "Graphic Novelist Who Tortured Fiancée to Death Was Jealous of Attention She Paid to Newborn Daughter: Prosecutor," 21 June 2018 The result was aressentiment mixture of jealousy and inferiority which fuelled anti-Americanism. The Economist, "A new generation is rising in Russia," 22 Mar. 2018 And then, find the perfect Instagram caption below to compliment your jealousy-inducing beach photo. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "37 Beach Instagram Captions That’ll Get All The Likes," 14 Dec. 2018 In his house, police found dozens of unopened letters from Jenkins to Fiore, which showed jealousy and possessiveness. Jack Wisniewski, Fox News, "8 reality TV tragedies," 31 Aug. 2018 Everything is about a moment The main purpose of trips like these is for influencers to create content—inciting jealousy is just a bonus. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "I Lived Like a Fashion Blogger For a Week," 11 July 2017

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.

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First Known Use of jealousy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for jealousy

see jealous

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Dictionary Entries near jealousy








Statistics for jealousy

Last Updated

21 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jealousy

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

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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 How to pronounce jealousy (audio) \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on jealousy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jealousy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jealousy

Spanish Central: Translation of jealousy

Nglish: Translation of jealousy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jealousy for Arabic Speakers

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).


having no equal

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