Origin of enviable

First recorded in 1595–1605; envy + -able
Related formsen·vi·a·ble·ness, nounen·vi·a·bly, adverbnon·en·vi·a·ble, adjectivenon·en·vi·a·ble·ness, nounnon·en·vi·a·bly, adverbun·en·vi·a·ble, adjectiveun·en·vi·a·bly, adverb
Can be confusedenviable envious jealous

Synonyms for enviable

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unenviable

Contemporary Examples of unenviable

Historical Examples of unenviable

  • The position of Clay was one of unenviable distinction and power.

    Union and Democracy

    Allen Johnson

  • The public rebuked the unenviable notoriety of "Coal Oil Johnny."

  • This was that Maurice was endowed with the unenviable gift of the evil eye.

    A Mortal Antipathy

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

  • And then he betook himself to bed in a frame of mind that was not unenviable.

    Orley Farm

    Anthony Trollope

  • I darted off on my unenviable quest, meeting the doctor on the stairs.

    My Friend Smith

    Talbot Baines Reed

British Dictionary definitions for unenviable


  1. not to be enviedthe unenviable task


  1. exciting envy; fortunate or privileged
Derived Formsenviableness, nounenviably, adverb
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 unenviable

1640s, from un- (1) "not" + enviable. Related: Unenviably.



c.1600, from envy + -able. Related: Enviably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper