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

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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

On Paradise, however, jealousy has gotten the better of him numerous times. De Elizabeth, Allure, "Bachelor in Paradise," 29 Aug. 2018 Though United's Premier League finish (second) was superior to Liverpool's (fourth), a Champions League trophy will undoubtedly cause an untold amount of jealousy from their north west derby rivals., "David Beckham Begs Zinedine Zidane to 'Please' Overcome the Liverpool in Champions League Final," 26 May 2018 The court found the husband guilty for his wife’s death, citing jealousy as his motive, despite a lack of forensic evidence linking him to the crime, Daily Mail reports. Fox News, "Murdered Russian Aeroflot stewardess' actor husband sentenced to 11 years in prison," 11 Apr. 2018 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

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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Statistics for jealousy

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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 \
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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