Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Jealousy and Envy


Jealousy vs Envy

Jealousy and envy are very similar and are listed as synonyms. Their time of derivation is close as well. Jealously has an origin of between 1175 and 1225. Envy has an origin stated to be between 1250-1300. Both are cited as being most recently derived from Middle English. The fact that envy seems to have originated after jealousy it seems to imply that it is the result of an attempt to further clarify or distinguish concepts. The differences between these two are a subtle one, which is true with nearly any synonyms. It does exist though in the overall usage and many of the specific definitions. There are a number of definitions though that overlaps. To begin let it be pointed out that envy is used as a noun and a verb, while jealously is only used as a noun and is a state of being that references the adjective jealous.

Jealousy is a state of being that is rather focused in what it refers to. In general the common uses refer to states of unease. In some definitions these are elevated to resentment and suspicion. It can refer to a general state or specifically a state of mind.  Jealously in some instances may refer to simply a vigilance or commitment to maintaining or guarding a thing.

While jealousy often refers to a rival, envy is often focused toward the possessions and advantages of another. It may also include the idea of right. In general this is based on the individual being more deserving of the objects that the envy is focused on. For example the individual that is envious may consider themselves to be more deserving of the possessions of another. The verb form of envy can refer to an instance when an individual feels that way toward an object.

The most obvious difference of the two is that jealousy is generally focused toward an individual and specifically toward an individual that may be considered a rival. Envy instead focuses more on the object than the person that possesses it, though the envy may be based or accompanied by the assessment that the individual deserves what they envy.

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1 Comment

  1. The difference between envy and jealousy:

    Envy – I want what you’ve got.

    Jealousy – I don’t want you to have it.

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