What is the difference between envy and jealous?

Hey everyone. Would someone please explain to me in a simple and easy to understand way what the difference between envy and jealousy is? If possible, would you please provide examples of each sin?

I think envy = jealousy plus hate of other person due to said jealousy?

kind of like the difference between anger, rage and hate.

in todays world everyone mixes the two meanings up and assume they mean the same thing. however jealousy= when you guard something you have already whereas envy = when you strongly desire something that somebody else has

The words are often used interchangeably.

But sometimes they are used differently, and in that case they could be understood as…

Envy is when you wish you had what someone else has. Also called coveting. You can be envious of you neighbour’s house, car, wife, etc.

Jealousy is when you are fearful that something you have may be taken away. eg you may be jealous of your wife spending time with another man, because you fear loss of her affection.

The bible describes God as a jealous God. This means God does not wish to lose us to anything else - other gods, sinful habits, etc.

Beat me to it. :thumbsup:

I will try to answer this – wish me luck!

Envy means to want what someone else has & wish it were yours: examples: their fancy house, car, jewelry, or lovely wife (which can also lead to “mental” sin of adultery, as desiring someone else’s wife is a sin)

Jealousy usually involves being possessive. In other words, a) you are jealous of any signs of affection from your parents toward anyone else, thinking only you should receive any of their affection and attention. .b) You feel jealous if your pet dog is extra friendly to another human, instead of friendly only to you. c) If you are married, engaged or seriously dating -== jealousy is if you see your love interest even speaking to a member of the opposite sex, imagining that they are being unfaithful. This is jealousy, which is usually combined with possessiveness, which is really bad, especially in a marriage because it involves distrust, and marriage should involve being trusting of one another.

That said: You can be envious of someone’s wealth or car, and ALSO jealous that they got it and not you. Mostly though, that is still envy, rather than jealousy. Jealousy involves more selfishness, rather than envying someone else’s good fortune.

I am somewhat envious of my best friend having a magnificent Mezzo Soprano voice, but I am even happier for every opportunity to hear her sing at Mass. I thank God that someday, should I reach Heaven, my voice will be just as beautiful as hers! But, I am NOT jealous that she shares this gift with others.

Hope that clarifies things a bit.

Envy: Someone else has something. You wish you had it.

Jealousy: You have something. You are afraid of losing it (or you want it only for yourself).

So, for example, a single man might be envious of another man who is married to a beautiful woman. A married man who feels insecure might become jealous if another man speaks to his wife.

Note added later: Sorry for the repetition. Several others wrote the same thing while I was typing.

I tried to give multiple examples, as the OP sounds like a young person, but you put it extremely well in just a couple of sentences. Well done!

I checked the Catechism, and it has a lot to say about envy in connection with the Tenth Commandment:
[INDENT]“You shall not covet… anything that is your neighbor’s…”
2539 Envy is a capital sin. It refers to the sadness at the sight of another’s goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even unjustly. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor it is a mortal sin:
St. Augustine saw envy as “the diabolical sin.” “From envy are born hatred, detraction, calumny, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity.”
2540 Envy represents a form of sadness and therefore a refusal of charity; the baptized person should struggle against it by exercising good will. Envy often comes from pride; the baptized person should train himself to live in humility:
Would you like to see God glorified by you? Then rejoice in your brother’s progress and you will immediately give glory to God. Because his servant could conquer envy by rejoicing in the merits of others, God will be praised.[/INDENT]
However, the Catechism does not say that desire itself is sinful:
2535 The sensitive appetite leads us to desire pleasant things we do not have, e.g., the desire to eat when we are hungry or to warm ourselves when we are cold. These desires are good in themselves; but often they exceed the limits of reason and drive us to covet unjustly what is not ours and belongs to another or is owed to him.

2537 It is not a violation of this commandment to desire to obtain things that belong to one’s neighbor, provided this is done by just means…
Here is a different kind of example: If your neighbor plays soccer well, you may wish to play soccer as well as he does, maybe even better. If it is a matter of pride, and it hurts you to see him play better than you, that is envy. If you rejoice when he has an injury that prevents him from playing so well, that is envy to a grave degree. On the other hand, if you only want to do your best, and it delights you to see him play well and even better than you, then you have overcome envy.

(continued from the above post)
In the same way, I searched the Catechism for any mention of jealousy. It does not say much about jealousy in particular, but lists it among other vices that threaten relationships between man and woman:
1606 Every man experiences evil around him and within himself. This experience makes itself felt in the relationships between man and woman. Their union has always been threatened by discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy, and conflicts that can escalate into hatred and separation…
It goes on to tell how the first sin of Adam and Eve changed their relationship:
1607 According to faith the disorder we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin. As a break with God, the first sin had for its first consequence the rupture of the original communion between man and woman. Their relations were distorted by mutual recriminations; their mutual attraction, the Creator’s own gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust…
So I guess jealousy is tied to self-centeredness, possessiveness, domination, and perhaps lust.

Interestingly, we read that God can be jealous, as in the Cleansing of the Temple:
584 Jesus went up to the Temple as the privileged place of encounter with God. For him, the Temple was the dwelling of his Father, a house of prayer, and he was angered that its outer court had become a place of commerce. He drove merchants out of it because of jealous love for his Father: “ ‘You shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ ”
and regarding prayers of petition:
2737 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” If we ask with a divided heart, we are “adulterers”; God cannot answer us, for he desires our well-being, our life. “Or do you suppose that it is in vain that the scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us?’” That our God is “jealous” for us is the sign of how true his love is. If we enter into the desire of his Spirit, we shall be heard.
[INDENT]Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer…[/INDENT]
Does this mean that jealousy can exist without sin, as an expression of pure love and its desire for the good of another? I don’t know. It is not easy to picture myself being jealous in a perfectly loving way. Or perhaps that is only because we rarely, if ever, speak of jealousy in that way. :confused:

Thanks! We learn something new every day!

God Bless

The Blessed Trinity is a substance of his own being. He consists not of passions. When the bible uses the term jealous, it is a term that plays with the English language. A better understanding of the term would be zealous, rather then jealous.

I am still not understanding the difference between envy and jealousy. I am sorry about this.

Also, someone else mentioned that I sound like a young person. Well, I guess I am young if you consider 31 to be young. :o I just ask you to please use simple terms and language so I can understand it better because my intelligence is below average.

Holly3278 – this is the plainest language explanation I have seen. I also made a longer post up above here which gave several examples of each. Do either of these make it clearer for you?

Here is the simplest explanation I have seen. Does this make sense or do you need if phrased differently to understand it clearly?

By the way – since I’m 72, most of the posters are young people to me!!

The way I heard it explained once was that jealousy is wanting what another person has. Envy is not just wanting what the other person has but not wanting the person to have it.

I’m sure there are lots of different ways to define them both. I don’t know that there’s any official distinction between the two in Catholic theology.

Yeah that makes sense to me. But isn’t it true that it is okay to want what another person has so long as you intend or want to gain it in a just manner?

I have a question. If I am afraid of losing my computer or my cat or something, is that jealousy?

No, it’s not jealousy, unless you refuse to let anyone else approach your cat (for instance) because you don’t want your cat to like anyone else. Jealousy involves possessiveness to an improper degree. I am “possessive” about protecting my little dog from the cold, or being hurt by a larger dog, but I like it when he makes friends with my friends who come to my home, so I’m not “jealous”, just careful and protective – note: “protective”, not “possessive”. There is a big difference between the two.

Oh okay. Thanks. I understand that now.

So, if I understand correctly. Envy is when you want what someone else has and you want to gain it in an unjust manner. Right?

Also, is it envy if you want what someone else has but you want to gain it in a just manner?

And if I understand correctly this is what jealousy is: Jealousy is when you are so afraid of losing something and you refuse to share it. Would that describe what you mean by what you said above?

I’m sorry Judy. Its just that I am having a very hard time understanding this.

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