View synonyms for envy


[ en-vee ]


, plural en·vies.
  1. a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.

    Synonyms: enviousness

  2. an object of such feeling:

    Her intelligence made her the envy of her classmates.

  3. Obsolete. ill will.

verb (used with object)

, en·vied, en·vy·ing.
  1. to regard (a person or thing) with envy:

    She envies you for your success.

    I envy your writing ability.

    He envies her the position she has achieved in her profession.

    Synonyms: resent

verb (used without object)

, en·vied, en·vy·ing.
  1. Obsolete. to be affected with envy.


/ ˈɛnvɪ /


  1. a feeling of grudging or somewhat admiring discontent aroused by the possessions, achievements, or qualities of another
  2. the desire to have for oneself something possessed by another; covetousness
  3. an object of envy


  1. to be envious of (a person or thing)
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Confusables Note

Envy and jealousy are very close in meaning. Envy denotes a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another: to feel envy when a friend inherits a fortune. Jealousy, on the other hand, denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that one more rightfully deserves: to feel jealousy when a coworker receives a promotion. Jealousy also refers to anguish caused by fear of unfaithfulness.
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Derived Forms

  • ˈenvyingly, adverb
  • ˈenvier, noun
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Other Words From

  • en·vy·ing·ly adverb
  • un·en·vied adjective
  • un·en·vy·ing adjective
  • un·en·vy·ing·ly adverb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of envy1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English noun envie, from Old French, from Latin invidia, equivalent to invid(us) “envious” (derivative of invidēre “to envy”) + -ia abstract noun suffix; verb derivative of the noun; invidious, -y 3( def )
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Word History and Origins

Origin of envy1

C13: via Old French from Latin invidia, from invidēre to eye maliciously, from in- ² + vidēre to see
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. green with envy, full of envy; covetous:

    When my friends saw the enormous rock on my engagement ring, they were all green with envy.

More idioms and phrases containing envy

see green with envy .
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Synonym Study

Envy, begrudge, covet refer to one's attitude toward the possessions or attainments of others. To envy is to feel resentful and unhappy because someone else possesses, or has achieved, what one wishes oneself to possess, or to have achieved: to envy the wealthy, a woman's beauty, an honest man's reputation. To begrudge is to be unwilling that another should have the possessions, honors, or credit that person deserves: to begrudge a man a reward for heroism. To covet is to long jealously to possess what someone else possesses: I covet your silverware.
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Example Sentences

Attempts to promote new fashions, harness the “propulsive power of envy,” and boost sales multiplied in Britain in the late 18th century.

From Quartz

“We are committed to making our rail operations control center a safety standard-bearer and envy of the transit industry,” Wiedefeld said.

Disney has experimented with the premium digital release of “Mulan” and the upcoming Pixar release “Soul,” but its box-office might has been the envy of Hollywood.

From Fortune

Find people to spend your life with who have similar money views as you and it will save you a lot of unnecessary stress, envy and wasteful spending.

From Fortune

Seeing a new group arrive from the city, with all their toes intact, shiny hair, “fat and delicious-looking,” Agnes drools—maybe with envy, maybe because they so appetizingly resemble healthy livestock in her world of jerky and morning mush.

I envy my refusenik friends their steadfast commitments to stay in, and contentment in doing so.

Europeans seem to find them exotic, an odd case of culture-envy in reverse.

I don’t think that happened in the ‘90s and the ‘80s and I wonder if there’s a purity to that that I envy sometimes.

I had found the one and only thing in the entire universe for which Ben Bradlee might envy me: my age.

I envy Muslims their practice of regular and genuine prayer.

It is then we make him our friend, which sets us above the envy and contempt of wicked men.

Consult not with him that layeth a snare for thee, and hide thy counsel from them that envy thee.

She expatiated on his father's character; on the envy of his rivals; and dated his fall to their ambition alone.

She had a graceful figure, and the slender foot below her white piqué skirt was at once the envy and admiration of Aix-les-Bains.

Like his father, he had to bear all that Spanish envy and Spanish malignity could inflict.


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More About Envy

What does envy mean?

Envy is a mostly negative feeling of desire for something that someone else has and you do not.

Envy is not a good feeling—it can be described as a mix of admiration and discontent. But it’s not necessarily malicious. Envy is very similar in meaning to jealousy. However, jealousy usually implies a deeper resentment, perhaps because you feel that you deserve the thing more than the other person, or that it is unfair that they have it.

Envy is also a verb meaning to have feelings of envy toward someone. It is always followed by the person or thing that’s envied, as in I must admit that I envy her talent. 

As a noun, it can also be used to refer to the object of envy, as in She was the envy of the entire office after getting the promotion. 

Someone who envies another person can be described as envious, as in I was envious of him and his popularity. Someone who’s very envious is said to be green with envy. Things that produce envy in others can be described as enviable, as in It’s an enviable position, with a lot of perks. 

Example: Other people’s perfectly curated social media feeds often cause us to feel envy, but we need to keep in mind that they don’t show the whole story of what someone’s life is like—only the highlights.

Where does envy come from?

The first records of the word envy come from the 1200s. It comes from the Latin invidia, a derivative of the Latin verb invidēre, meaning “to envy” or, more poetically, “to eye maliciously.”

Being full of envy often involves eyeing up other people’s qualities or possessions, especially when they are better or more plentiful than the ones you have. Envy is one of the so-called seven deadly sins and has long been considered one of the vices that can lead people to do bad things. Still, most people are thought to experience envy at one time or another. Envy can lead to bitterness, but it doesn’t have to. You can be envious of your friend’s success and still be happy for them. When you stop being happy for them and start to resent them for it, that’s jealousy.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to envy?

  • envious (adjective)
  • enviousness (noun)
  • enviable (adjective)
  • envyingly (adverb)
  • unenvied (adjective)
  • unenvying (adjective)
  • unenvyingly (adverb)

What are some synonyms for envy?

What are some words that share a root or word element with envy

What are some words that often get used in discussing envy?

What are some words envy may be commonly confused with?

How is envy used in real life?

Most people feel envy occasionally, but they usually only admit it when it’s not so serious.



Try using envy!

Is envy used correctly in the following sentence?

All the other interns envied me because I was the only one who got my own desk.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.