envy

1 of 2

noun

en·​vy ˈen-vē How to pronounce envy (audio)
plural envies
1
: painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage
2
obsolete : malice
3
: an object of envious notice or feeling
his new car made him the envy of his friends

envy

2 of 2

verb

envied; envying

transitive verb

1
: to feel envy toward or on account of
2
obsolete : begrudge

intransitive verb

obsolete : to feel or show envy
envyingly adverb

Did you know?

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 envy in a Sentence

Noun my envy of his success Their exotic vacations inspired envy in their friends. We watched with envy as the yacht slid past us. Verb I envy you for your large group of friends. I envy the way you've made so many friends.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Still, there are things that make success more probable than possible, and, coming into the 2024 season, the Dodgers were the envy of the major leagues. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, 30 Mar. 2024 What the two 33-year-old friends do have that helped their film make a splash with its New York debut is a secret weapon that would make a shrewd old-school movie pitchman like William Castle tingle with envy. Erik Piepenburg, New York Times, 5 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for envy 

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English envie, from Anglo-French, from Latin invidia, from invidus envious, from invidēre to look askance at, envy, from in- + vidēre to see — more at wit

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near envy

Cite this Entry

“Envy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/envy. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

envy

1 of 2 noun
en·​vy ˈen-vē How to pronounce envy (audio)
plural envies
1
: painful or resentful awareness of an advantage or possession enjoyed by another and the desire to possess the same thing
2
: an object of envy
she was the envy of all her friends

envy

2 of 2 verb
envied; envying
: to feel envy toward or on account of
envier noun
envyingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on envy

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!