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

Crew members get drunk after work, play pranks and nurse jealousies, crushes and beefs. John Jurgensen, WSJ, "‘The Orville’ and Its Vintage Vibe Fill the Void for Some ‘Star Trek’ Fans," 26 Dec. 2018 Friendships between women rely, often, on the unsayable—the secret comparisons, the petty jealousies, the familiar patterns of behavior. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Love Story of Debbie and Ruth," 10 July 2018 Walken and Wood appear to have become friends during the filming of Trumbull’s movie, and there were tabloid rumors of a romantic relationship, and of Wagner’s jealousy. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "The True Story of the Lost Sci-Fi Movie "Brainstorm," Natalie Wood’s Last Film," 21 Dec. 2018 Wanting women to succeed without jealousy is the definition of grace. Olivia Perez, Glamour, "10 Essential Ways to Support the Women in Your Life Right now," 2 Oct. 2018 The fifth season stars several men who have already exhibited toxic behaviors in the first few weeks of Paradise ranging from shocking bouts of jealousy to gaslighting and verbal abuse. De Elizabeth, Allure, "Bachelor in Paradise," 29 Aug. 2018 The other issue besides jealousy that I get asked about a lot is parenting. Arielle Greenberg, The Cut, "My Boyfriend, My Husband, and Me," 14 June 2018 Her rise in likability with the audience and recent business success have made her a target of jealousy among her castmates. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, "'Real Housewives'-type show is star of Jessica Knoll's juicy 'The Favorite Sister'," 14 May 2018 The significance of her seat lies instead in Mary Magdalene taking the prized position above any of the twelve male apostles, as Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) looks on in jealousy. Time, "The Real Reason Why Mary Magdalene Is Such a Controversial Figure," 30 Mar. 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

13 Jan 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 \
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

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