Definition of envy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈenvē/

noun (plural envies)

1A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck: she felt a twinge of envy for the people on board
More example sentences
  • Full of self-doubt and lack of true self-esteem, the hero's emotions express themselves in extravagant, paranoid projections, envies and resentments - most of which he foists onto his indirect or mediated rival.
  • ‘I may have a lot of bad qualities like jealousy, envy and anger, but it takes a long time for anyone to really irk me,’ says the actor.
  • Love cancels resentment, envy and jealousy and replaces them with kindness, forbearance and cordiality.
jealousy, covetousness;
resentment, bitterness, discontent;
the green-eyed monster
1.1 (the envy of) A person or thing that inspires envy: their national health service is the envy of many in Europe
More example sentences
  • If everywhere can become as good, our health service will be the envy of the world.
  • Yet politicians of all parties like to pretend that there is a quick-fix solution that will miraculously transform the service into the envy of the world.
  • We were even allowed to take time off school to visit air stations, an unexpected perk that made us the envy of classmates who thought we were all uniformed ponces.
finest, best, pride, top, cream, jewel, flower, leading light, the crème de la crème

verb (envies, envying, envied)

[with object]
1Desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to (someone else): he envied people who did not have to work on weekends [with two objects]: I envy Jane her happiness
More example sentences
  • She imagined her home even lovelier than it was now, and she imagined everyone admiring her, envying her, wishing they, too, had such a gift.
  • You must mark out your territory as an artist, so that others learn to envy you and aspire to what you are doing.
  • Borges' characters can similarly be said to envy women their desire that they cannot understand and do not dare explore.
be envious of, be jealous of;
begrudge, be resentful of
1.1Desire for oneself (something possessed or enjoyed by another): a lifestyle that most of us would envy
covet, desire, aspire to, wish for, want, long for, yearn for, hanker after, crave



Pronunciation: /ˈenvēər/
Example sentences
  • This is what makes enviers lethal: A jealous person wants what you have.
  • It is agreed that envy involves an envier, a party who is envied - this may be a person or group of persons - and some possession, capacity or trait that the subject supposes the rival to have (the ‘good’).


Middle English (also in the sense 'hostility, enmity'): from Old French envie (noun), envier (verb), from Latin invidia, from invidere 'regard maliciously, grudge', from in- 'into' + videre 'to see'.

  • One of the traditional seven deadly sins, envy is said to lead to damnation in Christian theology. Early senses included ‘hostility, enmity’. It comes from Latin invidere ‘regard maliciously, grudge’, formed from in- ‘into’ and videre ‘to see’, also found in invidious (early 17th century).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: en·vy

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