« An Unimpressive Message From My Dentist | Main | Three Quests for Errors »

November 08, 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I have always thought when a person felt jealousy it was because he wanted what another person has.
And if a person feels envious, it isn't about coveting what some else has. It is about the person not wanting the other person to have it. Not because one wants it for himself.

Shalom Bresticker

Sometimes the correct choice depends on context or on knowing the background.

For example, in #2:

Rob feels _______________ when he sees Carlos talking to their new supervisor so often, especially when both of them are laughing.

If Rob feels no resentment towrds Carlos, but wishes he was more like Carlos, then "envious" could be the proper choice.

Without knowing better what Rob is feeling inside, we can't really know which word more accurately describes the situation.


I have understood envy to be wanting what another has. While jealousy can also include this, I have interpreted it to also involve an aspect of feeling like what one has is threatened by what another has. That's where the resentment comes in: an employee may feel that his good, but average, relationship with the boss is threatened by another's apparently excellent relationship with the superior. Jealousy and envy, while distinct, are quite inter-related and most likely often travel in tandem.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Rae-Ann,

I've checked two dictionaries--Webster's and American Heritage--and neither one interprets envy the way you do. So as much as I'm intrigued by your interpretation, I'm afraid I can't agree with it--yet. Perhaps I will find it in another dictionary.

Thanks for stopping by.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Shalom,

Thanks for your excellent point. I agree.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Judi, thanks for your astute point. I agree, and I believe the dictionaries do too.



I know very well the meaning of these two words (they're basically the same with same meaning in Italian), so to answer your question, yes, I make a distinction between them. So I gave your exact same answers. In Italian, I noticed that people tend to use "jealous" for everything and it makes me nuts!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Deborah, thanks for sharing your insights about Italian. It sounds as though the Italian people make the same mistakes many native English speakers make.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)