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[jel-uh s] /ˈdʒɛl əs/
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 forms
jealously, adverb
jealousness, noun
overjealous, adjective
overjealously, adverb
overjealousness, noun
unjealous, adjective
unjealously, adverb
Can be confused
enviable, envious, jealous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for jealous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Paris proletariat were as jealous and suspicious of the Assembly as the Assembly of them.

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

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • He thought me a woman who seeks men of renown; he was as jealous and exacting as when his taunts and suspicions separated us.

    Professor Huskins Lettie M. Cummings
  • This fiasco, due, I am told, to the jealous interference of the P.-L.

    In the Heart of Vosges Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • In his inmost heart Frank was glad that she should be jealous, and he watched her out of the corner of his eye.

    A Duet Arthur Conan Doyle
British Dictionary definitions for jealous


suspicious or fearful of being displaced by a rival: a jealous lover
often postpositive and foll by of. resentful (of) or vindictive (towards), esp through envy: a 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 loyalty: a jealous God
an obsolete word for zealous
Derived Forms
jealously, adverb
jealousness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French gelos, from Medieval Latin zēlōsus, from Late Latin zēlus emulation, jealousy, from Greek zēloszeal
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
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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
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