Commonly Confused Words: Jealousy, Envy
November 27, 2017
These commonly confused words look and sound nothing alike, but most people use them interchangeably. In fact, it’s likely this pair of words is a surprise to you. Generally, you won’t bother people if you use these words synonymously, but they do have some distinctions in their meaning.
Jealousy: feelings of resentment toward another person, generally in the context of relationships
Envy: coveting another person’s possessions, skills, advantages
Their Usage And Some Examples
Robert felt a surge of jealousy when the famous actor winked at his, Robert’s, girlfriend.
Tanya envied Becky’s dark, curly hair.
Their meanings have remained mostly the same and were not as synonymous in the past.
Jealousy: Around 1200 AD, the word referred to sexual possessiveness and suspicion.
Envy: The word mostly referred to feeling hatred or ill-will toward a person.
So before you go green with envy, make sure you’re not actually feeling jealousy.