Difference Between Envy and Jealousy

The basic difference between Envy and Jealousy is that the envious want to covet what somebody else possesses and he lacks. Whereas Jealous is the one who fears losing something he possesses to somebody else due to either insecurity or some other trait the other possesses.


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If we specifically talk about people only, then this is mainly concerned with the order of events how they take place. For a person to envy somebody, there doesn’t have to be a prior connection involved.

On the other hand, jealousy only occurs in situations where there is a prior connection between the parties involved. It can be described as the number of people involved in the cause and effect of the sentiment; two being in the former and three in the latter.

Envy vs Jealousy

The difference between Envy and Jealousy is that since envy is the bitterness one feels for the lack of an attribute or object that somebody else possesses, meaning it is a sentiment involving two people, the envious and the person being envied.

Whereas Jealousy, mostly is the emotion one feels when his connection or relationship with a person who he is close to, is affected by their connection or involvement with another entity who is somehow better in something. Meaning, three people are involved.

Envy vs Jealousy


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonEnvyJealousy
Object of sentimentCould be a trait, quality, riches or caliber in another personmostly people
People involvedTwoThree or more
Cause of the sentimentWish to acquire something the other hasFear of losing something to someone else
Effected personsThe person who envies is affected only by suffering within himselfThe person who is jealous not only disturbs the other people involved but might also take violent action in response
Emotional effectsIf not controlled, envy creates disdain and long-term disappointment because the object of envy constantly reminds of what one lacks so even if he tries, he cannot feel successful or acknowledge his own accomplishmentsIf not controlled, jealousy creates ill-mannerism and spite in the person because he keeps thinking about how to bring the opponent down and perhaps ruin his chances of success. As a result he does not focus on his own betterment
End resultNo improvement in life except for mental discomfort and unhappinessRelations of a jealous person become distant due to his behavior and life quality further worsens


What is Envy?

Envy is defined as the desire of achieving something that another individual has. It is generally a silent emotion, dwelling inside a person’s heart and makes the sinner a victim of his own feelings.

The person he is envious of may or may not even know that another person is being affected by some of their qualities or possessions but suffering continues for the sinner. This is why it is considered as one of the seven deadliest sins as it is self-harming and brings no positive results.

For example, a person could be envious of someone’s good looks or success or talents if he finds himself less attractive or has no confidence in his achievements or caliber.


What is Jealousy?

Jealousy is defined as the insecurity of a person which makes him afraid of losing something he holds precious to someone else who may or may not have characteristics that he might or might not possess. It makes a person possessive about his relationships and creates obsession and unhealthy concern for his loved ones.

Jealousy not only affects the sinner but also the people close to him because his reactions and responses are molded accordingly. He focuses on the negative aspects of a situation because of his own fears and hence invites repulsion.

For example, a person could become jealous of a stranger if his friends take more interest in them and their hobbies or if his family is more appreciative of their achievements and skills or his spouse is attracted to them. He will feel like his friends or family are driven towards the other person and hence will deprive him of their time and attention.


Main Differences Between Envy and Jealousy

  1. Envy compels a person to crave things that he finds in someone else but himself lacks whereas jealousy compels a person to be fearful of someone taking away from him something he dearly values
  2. Envy is a silent emotion such as yearning whereas jealousy is outright and revengeful
  3. Envy brings damage to the person himself whereas jealousy damages himself and people around him
  4. Envy makes a person dissatisfied with his life or blessings whereas jealousy makes a person hateful and unpleasant towards his assumed opponent
  5. Envious people become distant from their loved ones due to their internal distress whereas jealous people become overprotective of their loved ones due to their anxiety.
  6. Envious people always compare themselves to others and try to find faults that might not even matter but become a cause of discontentment for them whereas jealous people find themselves constantly in competition with the others. They believe they have to prove themselves better or avenge their opponents to be successful.
Difference Between Envy and Jealousy


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1993-36273-001
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167288142017
  3. https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/jscp.1988.7.1.15
  4. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1991-97036-010
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