A Room With a Southern View

Thoughts on Life and Liberty from an Average Middle-Class Kentuckian

Pet Peeve: Envy vs Jealousy

on March 21, 2012

Most people use the two words “envy” and “jealousy” interchangeably, and technically, are synonyms.  However, each word has subtle nuances that make them very distinct.

From Dictionary.com: ENVY  and JEALOUSY are very close in meaning. Envy  denotes a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another: to feel envy when a friend inherits a fortune. Jealousy,  on the other hand, denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that you more rightfully deserve: to feel jealousy when a coworker receives a promotion. Jealousy  also refers to anguish caused by fear of unfaithfulness.

The way I see it, ENVY tells of our desire to take something we want; JEALOUSY tells of our desire to have something we feel we deserve.  In both cases we want the other person to not possess the thing of value, but our view of the thing is different.

Most situations call for common usage of words, instead of formal usage, unless you want to sound like a pompous ass.  Common usage varies with location.  I’m from Southeast Kentucky, so our common usage is very informal.  If I spoke with perfect English grammar, I’d get laughed at, or worse.

This may seem more of a Petty Peeve to you, and you’re right.  My problem with ENVY/JEALOUSY is just my quirk.  Lord knows, I make mistakes,  and that peeves me most of all!

Be kind with your words!

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3 responses to “Pet Peeve: Envy vs Jealousy

  1. I’m glad you make this distinction. It is a real and important one, and one I believe you make accurately. I attempt to take care to use the correct word, though I try to not allow envy to degrade into jealousy. Not always easy!

  2. […] Pet Peeve: Envy vs Jealousy (ithink2day.wordpress.com) […]

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