Difference Between Jealousy and Envy

Main Difference – Jealousy vs. Envy

Jealousy and envy are two words confusing words to many English learners as they have overlapping meanings. The main difference between jealousy and envy is that jealousy is the resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions, or perceived advantages while envy is the longing for something someone else has without any ill-will intended toward that person. In this article, we are going to look at the difference between jealousy and envy in detail.

Jealousy – Meaning and Usage

Jealousy is an emotion tinged with feelings like anger, insecurity, fear, and resentment. The word jealousy is an adjective, the noun form of the word is jealous. Jealousy can be felt in different situations.

Example  1:

Your neighbor has bought a brand new car. You feel resentful, angry, and feels that she doesn’t deserve her good fortune.

Example 2:                                                           

The pretty lady who lives next door offers your husband a ride. You feel afraid and insecure.

In both these examples, you feel jealousy, but there is a difference between these two situations. In the first situation, you feel jealous of something that you don’t have. In the second situation, you feel jealous because you are afraid of losing something that you already have. Jealousy can refer to,

Demonstrating resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions, or perceived advantages

She was the brightest girl in the class, and everyone was jealous of her.

When I saw her new mansion, I felt a pang of jealousy and anger.

Feeling or showing a resentful suspicion that one’s partner is attracted to or involved with someone else

It was his jealousy that destroyed their marriage.

In Shakespeare’s Othello, Othello was doomed by jealousy.

Fiercely protective of one’s rights or possessions

The little girl was jealous of her baby brother.

She had to overcome her jealousy over her husband’s female friends.Difference Between Jealousy and Envy

Envy – Meaning and Usage

Envy can be defined as a feeling of discontent or longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities or luck. Envy is often considered to be a  longing for something without feeling any ill-will towards that person. We feel envy about something when we don’t have that something. For example, your friend has won a grand lottery and has become rich overnight. You wish you too would have gotten a similar chance. Here, you envy your friend. Envy can be used as a noun as well as an adjective.

She was envied by all but liked by none.

Their transport system is the envy of the world.

I envy her happiness.

It was an opportunity most men would envy.Main Difference - Jealousy vs. Envy

Difference Between Jealousy and Envy


Jealousy is the feeling of resentment towards someone, their achievements or possessions. It can be also defined as the unhappy feeling of being replaced in someone’s affections.

Envy is the longing aroused by someone else’s possession, qualities or luck.

Part of Speech

Jealousy is an adjective

Envy is a verb and a noun.


You feel Jealousy when you are afraid of losing something that you already possess.

You feel Envy about something that you don’t have.


Jealousy is characterized by feelings of fear, anger, resentment and insecurity.

Envy characterized by feelings like resentment and longing.


Jealousy is considered to be a negative emotion.

Envy implies that you don’t wish any ill-will towards the other person, in such cases, it is not a negative emotion.Difference Between jealousy and envy - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Jealousy” by Antoine K (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

“Eastend cabaret Bagel Envy” by Kioskone – Own work. (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons 

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