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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 jealously
  • Older impala males stake out mating territories and herd groups of females that they jealously guard against any rivals.
  • He kept his instrument jealously guarded and allowed no one to touch it but himself.
  • Instead, it spent a little bit of what it had a lot of-money-while jealously hoarding its real store of value.
  • The good news is that higher education isn't a scarce resource to be jealously hoarded.
  • But building a useful database of translations is a slow and expensive endeavor, and companies guard their translations jealously.
  • In later years he jealously kept the bears for himself.
  • Their party's sole claim to legitimacy is economic stability, and they guard it jealously.
  • They keep their own databases and guard them jealously.
  • The charges are sharply at odds with the firm's jealously guarded self-image as a paragon of integrity.
  • Ossified societies guard positional goods more, not less, jealously.
British Dictionary definitions for jealously


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 jealously

late 14c., "in a zealous manner;" 1718, "in a suspicious and possessive manner," from jealous + -ly (2).



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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