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Envy vs. Jealousy: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 24, 2023
Envy is a longing for someone else's possessions or qualities, while jealousy involves fear of losing something to someone else.

Key Differences

Envy and jealousy, while often used interchangeably, denote different emotions. Envy arises when we lack a desired attribute or possession that another person has, leading to feelings of inferiority or longing. In contrast, jealousy stems from the fear of losing something we have, like a relationship or position, to another.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023
Envy typically concerns two parties: the one who envies and the one being envied. For instance, one might envy a friend's success or talent. Jealousy, however, often involves three entities: the one feeling jealous, the one perceived as a threat, and the object of affection or value.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023
While envy can lead to feelings of admiration or inspiration, pushing someone to improve or achieve, it can also foster resentment or bitterness. Jealousy, on its part, can incite possessiveness, anxiety, or even aggressive behavior, driven by the fear of loss.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023
In literary and cultural contexts, envy is sometimes represented as a green-eyed monster, symbolizing the covetous desire. Jealousy, although also depicted as green-eyed occasionally, leans more towards guarding what one already possesses rather than wanting what someone else has.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023
Envy can be passive, merely a wish to have what someone else possesses. Jealousy, being rooted in fear, can be more intense and proactive, often leading to actions to prevent the perceived threat from taking what's "ours."
Janet White
Oct 24, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Basis

Longing for what others have.
Fear of losing what one possesses.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Number of parties involved

Typically two.
Often three.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Emotion

Desire or covetousness.
Possessiveness or fear.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Potential feelings

Admiration, resentment.
Anxiety, protectiveness.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

Action-driven

Might inspire self-improvement.
Often leads to protective or preventive measures.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023
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Envy and Jealousy Definitions

Envy

Envy is a feeling of discontented desire for someone else's advantages.
She felt a twinge of envy at her sister's success.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 24, 2023

Jealousy

Jealousy is a vigilant guarding of a possession or right.
His jealousy over his position was evident.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Envy

Envy can be a begrudging admiration.
She couldn't hide her envy of their close friendship.
Harlon Moss
Oct 24, 2023

Jealousy

Jealousy denotes a feeling of resentment against someone because of their success or advantages.
Jealousy prevented her from being happy for others.
Janet White
Oct 24, 2023

Envy

Envy is a longing for another's possessions or attributes.
His new car was the envy of the neighborhood.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Jealousy

Jealousy is a fear or resentment of possible rivalry in love or affection.
Jealousy flared when she saw him talking to her best friend.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 24, 2023

Envy

Envy involves resentful coveting of another's advantages.
Envy consumed him when he saw her achievements.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

Jealousy

Jealousy involves a mistrustful or envious attitude.
His constant jealousy made the relationship challenging.
Sara Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Envy

Envy signifies a feeling of inferiority in comparison to another.
His intellect was the subject of much envy.
Harlon Moss
Oct 24, 2023

Jealousy

Jealousy is an apprehensive unease about potential loss or deprivation.
Jealousy crept in as he noticed her growing distant.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Envy

A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another. See Usage Note at jealous.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 20, 2015

Jealousy

A jealous attitude or disposition. See Usage Note at jealous.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 20, 2015

FAQs

What is envy?

Envy is a longing for someone else's possessions or qualities.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Can envy be a positive emotion?

Envy can inspire self-improvement, but it can also lead to resentment.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Can jealousy be harmful?

Yes, if unchecked, jealousy can lead to possessive or even aggressive behavior.
Harlon Moss
Oct 24, 2023

Is envy always negative?

No, it can be a catalyst for personal growth, but it can also foster bitterness.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

What's the difference between envy and admiration?

Envy involves wanting what someone else has, while admiration respects their qualities without the desire to possess them.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Can envy be felt towards an enemy?

Yes, one can envy attributes or possessions of even those they dislike.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Is jealousy always related to relationships?

No, jealousy can relate to any possession or status, not just relationships.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Can jealousy be felt in friendships?

Yes, it can arise in any relationship or scenario where there's something to lose.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

Can someone be envious without showing it?

Yes, envy can be an internal feeling not always externally displayed.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

Are envy and jealousy the same?

No, while related, they denote different emotions and scenarios.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Can envy be based on admiration?

Yes, envy can stem from begrudging admiration for someone.
Sara Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Is jealousy linked to trust issues?

Often, yes. Mistrust can fuel feelings of jealousy.
Sara Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

How is jealousy defined?

Jealousy involves fear or resentment of losing something or someone to a rival.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 24, 2023

Is jealousy a sign of love?

Not necessarily; it can be, but it's often a sign of insecurity.
Janet White
Oct 24, 2023

Is it natural to feel envy or jealousy?

Yes, they are natural emotions but should be managed constructively.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

What's the root emotion of envy?

The root emotion of envy is desire or covetousness.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

And for jealousy?

The root emotion of jealousy is fear or possessiveness.
Harlon Moss
Oct 24, 2023

How is envy depicted in literature?

Often as a green-eyed monster symbolizing covetous desire.
Sara Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

What causes envy?

Comparison, perceived inferiority, or unmet desires can lead to envy.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

How can one combat jealousy?

By building trust, improving self-esteem, and addressing insecurities.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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