[jel-uh s]


feeling resentment against someone because of that person's rivalry, success, or advantages (often followed by of): He was jealous of his rich brother.
feeling resentment because of another's success, advantage, etc. (often followed by of): He was jealous of his brother's wealth.
characterized by or proceeding from suspicious fears or envious resentment: a jealous rage; jealous intrigues.
inclined to or troubled by suspicions or fears of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims: a jealous husband.
solicitous or vigilant in maintaining or guarding something: The American people are jealous of their freedom.
Bible. intolerant of unfaithfulness or rivalry: The Lord is a jealous God.

Origin of jealous

1175–1225; Middle English jelous, gelos < Old French gelos (French jaloux) < Vulgar Latin *zēlōsus, equivalent to Late Latin zēl(us) zeal + ōsus -ose1
Related formsjeal·ous·ly, adverbjeal·ous·ness, nouno·ver·jeal·ous, adjectiveo·ver·jeal·ous·ly, adverbo·ver·jeal·ous·ness, nounun·jeal·ous, adjectiveun·jeal·ous·ly, adverb
Can be confusedenviable envious jealous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jealous

Contemporary Examples of jealous

Historical Examples of jealous

  • Not that in his presence she became vain or petty or jealous; that would have been impossible.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • To his jealous eyes came a vision of that excursion to the hospital.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • No one ever felt this intensity of jealous rage about a mother or a sister.

  • Even the most jealous of that most jealous of professions, surgery, had to admit that he got results.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • In reality they were jealous of each other with an inconceivable intensity.

British Dictionary definitions for jealous



suspicious or fearful of being displaced by a rivala jealous lover
(often postpositive and foll by of) resentful (of) or vindictive (towards), esp through envya child jealous of his brother
(often postpositive and foll by of) possessive and watchful in the maintenance or protection (of)jealous of one's reputation
characterized by or resulting from jealousy
obsolete, or biblical demanding exclusive loyaltya jealous God
an obsolete word for zealous
Derived Formsjealously, adverbjealousness, noun

Word Origin for jealous

C13: from Old French gelos, from Medieval Latin zēlōsus, from Late Latin zēlus emulation, jealousy, from Greek zēlos zeal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for jealous

c.1200, gelus, later jelus (early 14c.), "possessive and suspicious," originally in the context of sexuality or romance; in general use late 14c.; also in a more positive sense, "fond, amorous, ardent," from c.1300, from Old French jalos "keen, zealous; avaricious; jealous" (12c., Modern French jaloux), from Late Latin zelosus, from zelus "zeal," from Greek zelos, sometimes "jealousy," but more often in a good sense ("emulation, rivalry, zeal"). See zeal. In biblical language (early 13c.) "tolerating no unfaithfulness."

Most of the words for 'envy' ... had from the outset a hostile force, based on 'look at' (with malice), 'not love,' etc. Conversely, most of those which became distinctive terms for 'jealousy' were originally used also in a good sense, 'zeal, emulation.' [Buck, pp.1138-9]

Among the ways to express this in other tongues are Swedish svartsjuka, literally "black-sick," from phrase bara svarta strumpor "wear black stockings," also "be jealous." Danish skinsyg "jealous," literally "skin-sick," is from skind "hide, skin" said to be explained by Swedish dialectal expression fa skinn "receive a refusal in courtship."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper