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My favorite on-line dictionary tells me that it is

jealousy (of so.|sth.) - die Eifersucht (auf jmdn.|etw.)

I check just-the-word and there is only given

jealousy between

jealousy about

jealousy at

But of only precedent to jealousy. Looking at the examples for jealousy about and jealousy at it seems to me that about and at is the preposition which is taken when referring to the reason why someone is jealous.

... that it was jealousy about her ideas.

... jealousy at the younger man's superior talents

As I introduced, the dictionary says it is possible to say jealousy of sth. In my understanding something can just be the reason but not the thing I'm jealous of.

  • (Q1) Is it jealousy of sth or jealousy at sth or jealousy about sth when referring to the reason why someone is jealous?
    Note: I mean is it possible to say jealousy of the talents or must it be at as in the given example.

I don't find any serious sources which show the use of jealousy of sb. I know that it is correct since there are many examples for to be jealous of.

They're all jealous of me.

  • (Q2) Is it common to say jealousy of sb when referring to the person of whom I'm jealous?

Supplementary question: How do I combine in one sentences telling the person of whom I'm jealous and the reason why I'm jealous?
I could use genitive as in Peter's car but maybe my jealousy does not refer to the car or Peter himself but to his money or his parent's money (imaging they spent him the car). How could I handle such a thing?

I'm sorry for combining a couple of questions into one question but they are too related for being separated.

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I don't have a definitive answer for you, but to my ear, jealousy of sounds better than the other options, and perhaps jealousy over also deserves a spot in the running. See a google ngram search of jealousy (of|about|at|over) and just jealousy (about|at|over) for perspective. – Cameron Apr 17 '12 at 8:06
Also, jealousy for, which is the second or third most popular on Ngrams. – zpletan Apr 17 '12 at 16:29
jealous of him good looking, jealous about his good looks. – SF. Apr 20 '12 at 7:49
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Q1: Is it jealousy of sth or jealousy at sth or jealousy about sth when referring to the reason why someone is jealous?

I would think you would use the same prepositions for jealousy as for jealous.

Paul was jealous of Bill. Paul expressed jealousy of Bill.

Paul was jealous for/over his wife. Paul expressed jealousy for/over his wife.

Paul was jealous for/over Bill's car. Paul expressed jealous for/over Bill's car.

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you can use either for or over with jealous in either of the latter two senses it holds above.

I have never heard that you could be jealous at something or about something, but if the usages are valid, I would expect that you could use them in the same with jealousy.

Q2: Is it common to say jealousy of sb when referring to the person of whom I'm jealous?

Jealousy of/for/over/at/about something is awkward and in my experience little-used. It is more common to say, "I am jealous of him," as in the example first sentences above.

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One way of putting that would be to avoid prepositions altogether: I became jealous on knowing Peter's parents bought him a posh car.

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'on' is not a preposition? – Mitch Apr 17 '12 at 21:59
I do not think this 'on' attaches to 'jealous'. Or you may have I became jealous when I knew Peter's parents bought him a posh car. – Bravo Apr 18 '12 at 3:38

A search of the COCA gives the most common prepositions following jealousy as: of, in, over, and for. If you sort by relevance, the most common are: among, toward, over, between, and of.

Your could say, I'm jealous of Mia over her beautiful hair/for being able to do a backflip.

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Hmm .... what preposition should follow "anger"?

  • He has strong anger about health care inequality.
  • He is expressing his anger against the perpetrators of inequality.
  • Her anger for not having healthcare is eating her up.
  • Her anger at her brother is the result of his not supporting her.
  • Their anger towards the rich is exhibited by their refusal to file taxes.

Replace the word "anger" with "jealousy", "hate", "feelings", etc.

The preposition depends on the context.

What you are probably facing is confusion between

  • the pairing of verbs with prepositions
  • ascribing the appropriate preposition to the target context of a preceding noun or phrase.

You would ask the question "what preposition comes after xxx", when xxx is a verb.

  • attend to
  • conscious of
  • account for
  • believe in


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I understand. In principle, you're right. But let's take the examples of @zpletan. Every sentence begins with Paul expressed jealousy and this is followed by the object only. Though, the preposition (or namely post-position) changes dependent on what the object is (the 'target' or the 'reason'). And that's what the question is about. Maybe this is not clear enough? – Em1 Apr 18 '12 at 6:58

A selection of the quotations from the OED entry on jealous:

(1828) The Chief is young, and jealous of his rank.

(1838) Several of the leading persons in the state were jealous of his glory.

(1853) God is contemplated as jealous over his people.

(1888) The people, jealous of their hardly-won liberties.

(1888) Mrs. Fausset...had been jealous of the new-comer, and resentful of her intrusion from the outset.

(1897) The Church was, as early as 1254, becoming jealous of the civil law.

It is thus somewhat clear that, generally, the most appropriate preposition is of.

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