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Alternative forms[edit]


First attested in 1382. From Middle English jelous, gelous, gelus, from Old French jalous, from Late Latin zelosus, from Ancient Greek ζῆλος (zêlos, zeal, jealousy). Doublet of zealous.


  • IPA(key): /ˈd͡ʒɛləs/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: jeal‧ous
  • Rhymes: -ɛləs


jealous (comparative jealouser or more jealous, superlative jealousest or most jealous)

  1. Suspecting rivalry in love; troubled by worries that one might have been replaced in someone's affections; suspicious of a lover's or spouse's fidelity. [from 13th c.]
  2. Protective; zealously guarding; careful in the protection of something (or someone) one has or appreciates, especially one's spouse or lover. [from 14th c.]
  3. Envious; feeling resentful or angered toward someone for a perceived advantage or success, material or otherwise. [from 14th c.]
    • 1891, Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray:
      I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die.
    • 1899, Mark Twain, The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg:
      The neighbouring towns were jealous of this honourable supremacy.
    I'm jealous because I'm single.
  4. Suspecting, suspicious.
    • 1823, Walter Scott, Quentin Durward:
      At length [...] the Duke demanded to know of Durward who his guide was, [...] and wherefore he had been led to entertain suspicion of him. To the first of these questions Quentin Durward answered by naming Hayraddin Maugrabin, the Bohemian; [...] and in reply to the third point he mentioned what had happened in the Franciscan convent near Namur, how the Bohemian had been expelled from the holy house, and how, jealous of his behaviour, he had dogged him to a rendezvous with one of William de la Marck's lanzknechts, where he overheard them arrange a plan for surprising the ladies who were under his protection.

Usage notes[edit]

Some usage guides seek to distinguish "jealous" from “envious”, using jealous to mean “protective of one’s own position or possessions” – one “jealously guards what one has” – and envious to mean “desirous of others’ position or possessions” – one “envies what others have”. [1] This distinction is also maintained in the psychological and philosophical literature.[2][3] However, this distinction is not always reflected in usage, as shown by the citations above.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


jealous (third-person singular simple present jealouses, present participle jealousing, simple past and past participle jealoused)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, slang) To harass or attack (somebody) out of jealousy.
    • 2005, Andrew Lansdown, The Dispossessed, page 11:
      If I go back, he starts his jealousing again. Drinking and jealousing.
    • 2014, Desmond Ihenze, Secrets for Ladies, page 198:
      Jealousing can take place: You may notice some of your fellow female co-workers that can be jealousing you.
    • 2020, Tochi Onyebuchi, Rebel Sisters, page 285:
      But another part of me is jealousing because Xifeng is looking at Ify like she is special, almost like she is wanting to call her daughter, and I am wanting Xifeng all to myself.
  2. (transitive, Australian Aboriginal) To deliberately make (someone) jealous of another person's (often their partner's) associations with other people.
    • 2013, Thalia Anthony, Indigenous People, Crime and Punishment:
      [] where the victim of an assault had been 'jealousing' the offender about her sister.