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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web So potent that the stone stands in for the evil eye, warding off jealousy, a blank blue eye open and unblinking. Mariam Rahmani, Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2022 And there’s a wonderful jealousy she and Paul each have about their relationship with Julia. Mahita Gajanan, Time, 6 Apr. 2022 Marin County, California—watery and remote—is the setting as Finney and Keaton hurtle from pained resentment to jealousy, lust, and violent anger. Marley Marius, Vogue, 25 Jan. 2022 It’s like any negative emotion that way — anger, jealousy, grief. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 An Orange County man was convicted Tuesday of murder for fatally shooting a man and woman inside a Newport Beach condominium, allegedly because of jealousy over an ex-girlfriend. Hannah Frystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2022 Black adds a smoldering verse to the track, relishing in the jealousy of her former lover has at the sight of her thriving with someone new. Jason Lipshutz, Billboard, 18 Apr. 2022 Scott, now separated from Sofia, admits to his jealousy issues during a conversation with Kourtney on KUWTK. Sabrina Park, Harper's BAZAAR, 7 Apr. 2022 While the first movie followed Laura falling in love with Massimo after his kidnapping of her, the sequel promises jealousy, betrayal and a possible love triangle. Julia Moore,, 7 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for jealousy

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

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Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Jealousy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for jealousy


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

More from Merriam-Webster on jealousy

Nglish: Translation of jealousy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jealousy for Arabic Speakers


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