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

Buried in the petty jealousies and breathless infatuations, though, is Ricard opening his heart—in all its vulnerability and honesty and vanity and glory-seeking—to the world. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Rene Ricard’s First Book of Poems, Long Out of Print, Is Back—And It’s a Revelation," 4 May 2018 And when jealousy does occur, the partners discuss it and make changes to reconcile those feelings. Alex Kuczynski, Harper's BAZAAR, "Inside the Rise of Polyamory Relationships," 30 Apr. 2019 Getty ImagesStefanie Keenan Jenna Dewan is currently at the Sundance Film Festival, giving me insane jealousy with her effortless winter-chic vibes. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "The Way Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum's Daughter Everly Isn't Like Them," 31 Jan. 2019 However, jealousy and possessiveness are in the air, so be aware of your feelings. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What May’s Cancer Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 30 Apr. 2019 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

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

2 Jun 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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