English is an interesting language with wide vocabularies. One thing we definitely come across is synonyms, antonyms and, how to use the right word? Today, let’s learn how to tell the difference between “Envy” and “Jealousy”!

As you are becoming familiar to English, you will see these 2 words often as commonly confusing words. They almost have the same meaning, but in some certain cases, they don’t. Let’s find out further in this post! And by the way, a small gift is waiting for you at the end!

Envy

Pronunciation

/ˈɛnvi/: It is a 2-syllable word with the stress lay on the first one.

Definition: (according to the Oxford Dictionary)

(uncountable noun): A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

Usage and example

  • envy (of somebody): His envy of her success is very clear.
  • envy (at/of something): She felt a touch of envy at her best friend’s ideal conditions.
  • They looked with envy at her high-quality wardrobe.

Idioms

  • be the envy of somebody/something: to be a person or thing that other people admire and that causes feelings of envy (according to the Oxford Dictionary)

Example: Her aesthetic taste of fashion is the envy of the girls.

  • green with envy: very strong feelings of envy (according to Oxford Dictionary)

Example: Her colleagues were green with envy.

green with envy
“green with envy” is very strong feelings of envy (according to Oxford Dictionary)

Jealousy

Pronunciation

/ˈdʒeləsi /: It is a 3-syllable word with the stress lay on the first one.

Definition: (according to the Oxford Dictionary)

  • (uncountable noun): The state or feeling of being jealous: Feeling or showing an envious resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions, or perceived advantages.
  • (countable noun): An action or a remark that shows that a person is jealous
Envy and Jealousy
An action or a remark that shows that a person is jealous

Usage and example

  • His jealousy aroused as he saw his wife with someone else.
  • I’m tired of her petty jealousies.

Distinguish “Envy” and “Jealousy”

Similarities

In common circumstances, “Envy” and “Jealousy” are used with the same meaning as “the feeling that you wish you have something that someone else has” (Merriam-Webster dictionary). It makes no big difference at all.

Example:

  • Their envy/jealousy of his achievement is easy to see.
  • Her youth and looks aroused extreme envy/jealousy in her rivals.

Differences

However, in some circumstances, “Envy” and “Jealousy” cannot replace the other’s meaning:

1Envy” is a desire to have what someone else has. “ Jealousy” is the fear that what you have will be taken from you. Especially when it comes to love, “jealousy” is defined as “the upset and angry emotion because someone you love seems interested in another person.”

Envy and Jealousy

Example:

  • I felt a twinge of envy for the people who lived there.
  • The extreme jealousy will lead to unforeseen consequences.
  • It was nothing but pure jealousy that guided her thoughts – and fear of losing him.

2 According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “Envy” is “the wish that you had something that another person has.” “Jealousy” is “the unhappy and angry feeling because someone has something that you want”. So to say, “jealousy” expresses more resentment than “envy”.

Example:

  • My envy of her is the ability to talk to people she’s never met before.
  • However, there’s no point wasting precious time and effort on petty jealousy.

How to learn effectively?

In English, there are various words having almost-similar meanings like envy and jealousy. It is rather difficult to spot the differences at first, but mastering these “obstacles” is not hard at all.

Reading is traditional but always effective in studying English. Let’s take a look at this ebook of commonly confusing words in English to learn more. The ebook with 8 pages with detailed, easy explanation and illustration helps you find it interesting to read and learn. It does not take much time to finish reading it. However, you should read it often to remember the lesson longer.

Let’s take a look at this ebook of commonly confusing words in English to learn more.
Let’s take a look at this ebook of commonly confusing words in English to learn more.

Download eJOY Commonly Confusing Words ebook

Quiz

Let’s take some quizzes below to enhance what you’ve learned so far!

Part 1: Choose the appropriate word

  1. Mai says her (envy/jealousy) arouses when another woman looks at her boyfriend.
  2. She is consumed with (envy/jealousy)  if he looks at another woman
  3. I feel a pang of (jealous/envious) of their optimistic results.
  4. Their rich natural resources are the (envy/jealousy) of the entire world.
  5. I can see your (envy/jealousy) of him stealing your favorite toy.
  6. What I hated myself the most is letting (envy/jealousy) consume me like this.
  7. There is enough scope for (envy/jealousy) and healthy competition, but not hatred and (envy/jealousy).
  8. It would be selfish to take (envy/ jealousy) of him, and I could truthfully say I wasn’t.

Part 2: Watch some videos below to note how “Envy” and “Jealousy” is used in the real-life context

Video 1:

Video 2:

Video 3:

Summary

Hope that with this article on the differences between “Envy” and “Jealousy”, you can learn the right usage of the words. As the knowledge of English is very broad, being active in learning will give you the best result.

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