Jealousy vs envy

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Jealousy is (1) the unhappy feeling of being replaced in someone’s affections (2) the suspicion that the object of your affection has been unfaithful in your relationship (3) the fierce or watchful guarding of one’s rights (4) a feeling of discontented longing for someone else’s possessions or accomplishments. Jealous is the adjective form, jealously is the adverb, jealousness is a noun.

Envy is a feeling of discontented longing for someone else’s possessions or accomplishments. Envy may also be used as a verb, other forms are envied and envying, the adjective is envious.

While jealousy and envy describe very negative emotions, these words are sometimes used as exclamations of admiration or appreciation of the importance of an accomplishment or of the good luck that has befallen a person. As in: You won a trip to Hawaii? I am so jealous!

Jealousy and envy may sometimes be used interchangeably, in the sense of coveting another’s possessions or accomplishments, but the more formal, correct word to use in this situation is envy.


Woman must face her jealousy over beau’s female pal (The Columbus Dispatch)

Karen Danczuk says split from Simon was caused by jealousy of her SELFIES (The Mirror)

It has made private universities like the Ivy League, as well as many in the Northwest, the envy of the world — especially in times when federal and state governments reduce their commitment to supporting college education for those who need it most. (The Seattle Times)

Alberta’s top earners — once the envy of Canada’s rich — brace for a new tax reality (The Financial Post)

And if off-balance equates to spending a certain period of time being passionately committed to an ethos where you test your limits of being a footballer in a team environment with absolutely no guarantee of success, then I envy and admire those players. (The Irish Independent)