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

There’s no saltiness, there’s no bitterness, no jealousy, nothing. Ryan Hathaway,, "Norwell girls lacrosse one step away from Division 2 crown," 23 June 2018 The more insecurity, the more outward projection towards me of jealousy or negativity. Michael Knight, azcentral, "Danica Patrick, racing in final Indy 500, reflects on legacy, future," 26 May 2018 Drax’s deadpan awe, Star-Lord’s childish jealousy, and Rocket smugly accepting the title of captain are all telling character beats. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "How Avengers: Infinity War uses humor to solve its story problems," 9 May 2018 At the end of his life, Graham, who is not given to introspection but has clear hindsight, tells Gibbs and Duffy that he had been blessed with a character devoid of jealousy or hate. Newsweek Special Edition, Newsweek, "Exploring Billy Graham's Friendships with US Presidents," 5 Mar. 2018 When the jealousy of another local dope boy disrupts the peaceful life that Priest has built for himself (and his two girlfriends that live with him), he is forced to take some risks in order to get out of the game., "SuperFly Is A Nostalgic Reintroduction To Urban Fiction," 14 June 2018 Shakespeare’s powerful tale of xenophobia is placed in a contemporary setting meant to add a layer to the story of an intelligent, charming leader brought down by jealousy and lies. Terry Byrne,, "Paulus’s 10th season to include a revue of ART’s greatest hits," 21 May 2018 Its taut tale of the ravaging effects of jealousy has not been intrusively styled, as so many productions of Shakespeare are today, in a mode of searing contemporary relevance. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: A Cool-Tempered ‘Othello’ for Warm Central Park Nights," 18 June 2018 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

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

20 Oct 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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!