jeal·​ou·​sy ˈje-lə-sē How to pronounce jealousy (audio)
plural jealousies
: a jealous disposition, attitude, or feeling
a marriage destroyed by jealousy
petty jealousies
: zealous vigilance
cherish their official political freedom with fierce jealousyPaul 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.
Recent Examples on the Web In the teaser, Riley deals with the beginning of high school and onset of new emotions, including anxiety, boredom, jealousy and embarrassment. Jillian Pretzel, Peoplemag, 8 Apr. 2024 Those currently in an office can instead stare at this list with a burning jealousy. Kyle Barr / Gizmodo, Quartz, 27 Feb. 2024 Psychologists define it as pathological jealousy, with sufferers constantly comparing themselves to their partner’s ex. Sound familiar? Claire Cohen, Vogue, 25 Feb. 2024 In 2021, writer Laurence Leamer spoke to PEOPLE about Capote's fascination with Radziwill's relationship with the former First Lady — which at times was fueled by jealousy and resentment. Zoey Lyttle, Peoplemag, 31 Jan. 2024 Wolfhard explained that the different plot points last season kept the cast divided — and even stirred feelings of jealousy after learning of the storyline most of the cast brought to life. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 14 Mar. 2024 Scorsese’s piece of the movie, Life Lessons, stars Nick Nolte as a troubled painter who channels his complex feelings toward his ex-girlfriend/assistant (Rosanna Arquette) — jealousy, anger, attraction — into his pieces. Wesley Stenzel,, 9 Mar. 2024 As tender Luna opposes intense Pluto, dramatic feelings like jealousy, obsession, and fear can rise up from the deep and overwhelm us if we aren’t grounded., Baltimore Sun, 25 Jan. 2024 Prosecutors allege Alvarez killed Fierro out of jealousy after discovering Fierro had become engaged to Amy Gembara, another Cathedral Catholic teacher whom Alvarez had dated for several years. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jealousy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see jealous

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near jealousy

Cite this Entry

“Jealousy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


jeal·​ou·​sy ˈjel-ə-sē How to pronounce jealousy (audio)
plural jealousies
: a jealous disposition, attitude, or feeling

More from Merriam-Webster on jealousy

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