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 In an attempt to egg him on through jealousy, Ness herself has been dallying, with unfortunate consequences. Clair Wills, The New York Review of Books, "Love in Plague Time," 7 Jan. 2020 Faraglia, who has been part of the prosecution teams in two of the three death penalty trials this year, said Nicholson was full of jealousy, rage and hate that drove him to cut short two young lives that were filled with promise. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "Security guard gets death penalty in killings of girlfriend’s teenage children in Garfield Heights," 13 Nov. 2019 Dani Alves, with eyes that could stare through your soul and enough gold medals to make a dragon's eyes water with jealousy., "The 20 Best Footballers of the Decade," 14 Oct. 2019 Finn takes her back to the Millennium Falcon and tends to her, kissing her on the forehead as Rey (Daisy Ridley) looks on with a tad of jealousy just before the credits start to roll. Joey Morona, cleveland, "Where’s Rose is one of the biggest disappointments of 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’," 18 Dec. 2019 Beyond the rubble of jealousy, his exuberant virtuosity is a staple of NBA entertainment. Bruce Jenkins,, "As Warriors’ Stephen Curry gets well, D’Angelo Russell steals the show," 9 Nov. 2019 Lindsay-Hogg played an important role in The Crown Season 3, as viewers were shown the jealousy Margaret felt toward her husband's mistress. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "The True Story of Princess Margaret's Divorce from Antony Armstrong-Jones," 27 Nov. 2019 Just the sight of a charging bull car can evoke jealousy from streetside fans and contempt from those who consider the cars overrated or obnoxious. Wired, "Need to Run Errands Really Quickly? Try This Lamborghini SUV," 2 Nov. 2019 But the jealousy ends there and nobody is jealous of their performances., "Everton Have a Decision to Make Over Marco Silva Ahead of Horror Run of Fixtures," 1 Nov. 2019

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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Learn More about jealousy

Time Traveler for jealousy

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for jealousy

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jealousy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for jealousy


How to pronounce jealousy (audio)

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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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 insert between existing elements

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