Green-Eyed Monster – Idiom, Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

If you’ve ever considered what a green-eyed monster looks like or why someone might call you one, you’re in the right place. I will dissect this peculiar phrase in this article and help you understand its true essence. I’ll even throw in a few sentence examples to show you how to work this expression into everyday life.

What Does the Green-Eyed Monster Mean?

Green Eyed Monster Idiom Origin Meaning

This monstrous phrase isn’t as scary as it sounds, I promise, unless you’re dealing with someone who’s violently jealous. For the most part, the green-eyed monster is just a poetic way of describing the idea of jealousy.

It’s like another way of saying they’re seeing green. If someone is said to be harboring the green-eyed monster, they’re essentially consumed with envy or jealousy; this is just a fun way of saying it.

Should It Be Hyphenated?

Yes, it should. In English, we tend to use hyphens to connect words that function as a single idea or to avoid ambiguity. So, to preserve the singular monstrous concept of jealousy, it’s green-eyed monster because green-eyed is the descriptor for monster.

“A Green-Eyed Monster” or “The Green-Eyed Monster”?

Typically, we use the green-eyed monster to refer to jealousy as a universal concept. But using a green-eyed monster is also totally acceptable if you’re talking about a specific instance or person’s jealousy.

Origin and Etymology of the Green-Eyed Monster

The Green Eyed Monster Ngram
The green-eyed monster usage trend.

If you guessed that this phrase came from Shakespeare, you’re spot on. We’ve taken so many words and phrases from Good Ol’ Bill. The term green-eyed monster first appeared in the famous “Merchant of Venice” in 1596, where it’s said, “And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy!”

He also used it in the bard’s play Othello, back in 1604, where Iago warns Othello, “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”

Talk about dramatic! But that’s Shakespeare for ya!

What Is Another Word for the Green-Eyed Monster?

Let’s replace this monstrous phrase with some synonyms, shall we?

  • Jealousy
  • Envy
  • Covetousness
  • Resentment
  • Bitterness
  • Seeing green
  • Grudge

The Green-Eyed Monster Examples in a Sentence

Green Eyed Monster Idiom Origin Meaning 1

There are countless phrases you can use it in, but I’ll show you how to properly use this expression in complete full sentences.

  • Sarah couldn’t help but release the green-eyed monster when she saw her ex-boyfriend with his new girlfriend that looked just like her.
  • He tried to suppress the green-eyed monster when his colleague was handed the promotion he’d been hoping to get for years.
  • We’ve got some green-eyed monster trouble in class today.
  • Don’t let the nearby green-eyed monster get the better of you; it’s not worth it.
  • Carly was known to have a green-eyed monster lurking within her, and we all got a taste of this weekend.
  • The green-eyed monster can destroy relationships if not kept in check.
  • Overcoming the green-eyed monster is key to being content with what you have in life.

Slaying the Green-Eyed Monster

The verdict? Just remember that while we all have the green-eyed monster within us, it’s human nature. However, it’s crucial to keep it in check. After all, as Shakespeare taught us, it mocks the meat it feeds on. So, don’t feed the monster. Feed your knowledge instead!