I'm looking for a word that is the inverse of envy, in which a person wants others to have something good that they don't have.

The definition of envy from Lexico:

A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck.

In the word I'm looking for, a person sees something good and wants another person, who doesn't have it, to get it.

For example:

I have such ______. I want them to have peace.

  • There are synonyms for saintliness here. Aug 7, 2022 at 16:32
  • That's what love means, among other things. As Borges put it, he was thankful "por el amor, que nos deja ver a los otros como los ve la divinidad." Aug 7, 2022 at 16:59
  • 3
    Altruism? Kindness? Neighborliness? Empathy? Generosity? Aug 7, 2022 at 17:04
  • Welcome @lee-c ! This other question may have what you're looking for: english.stackexchange.com/questions/61008/… Aug 7, 2022 at 17:42
  • Looking at the post.. "Mitgefühl means "sadness derived from the sadness of others".. comes close but still doesn't convey a wanting of good for another.. I think in the sense of sadness at others sadness, it would cover it. Thank you for that bit. I still looking for a something to fit "yearning for good for another person"
    – Lee c
    Aug 7, 2022 at 18:02

2 Answers 2



desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness:

to be filled with benevolence toward one's fellow creatures.

an act of kindness; a charitable gift:

She bequeathed many benevolences from her vast fortune.


  • Thank you for the suggestions. I don't think there is a word for this concept. When I think of desire for food, I am hungry. Desire for drink , thirsty. What is "the desire for something good for another person or people". I am " "?
    – Lee c
    Aug 11, 2022 at 16:45
  • @Leec: Altruistically inclined.
    – Ricky
    Aug 12, 2022 at 4:55

I believe selflessness is the most fitting word. A selfless person cares more about other people's needs, happiness, interests, problems etc. than their own. It is also an apt word as an opposite of envy.

The definition of selflessness from Lexico:

Concern more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own.
‘a noble act of selflessness’

The differences from similar words:

  • Altruism is also the concern for the well-being of others but it doesn't have to involve being selfless. One can still be motivated by their own desires and also help others. Altruistic people can become selfless though.

  • Sympathy is more about sharing the same feelings with others, it is a feeling of pity or sense of compassion. It doesn't necessarily involve that you want them to have something good that you don't have. Empathy is similar also, which is the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing.

  • Generosity is the willingness to give or share, more than usual or expected. It generally involves more tangible things, however, it can also refer to kindness in general but less commonly.

  • Unselfishness is possibly the closest one. There are subtle differences though. Being unselfish is willing to share what you have also, but not necessarily beyond your own means. Being selfless goes beyond that and involves giving up good things and wanting others to have it.

  • Self-sacrifice is very similar but it goes beyond selflessness. It is probably too strong for the context. It can involve sacrificing anything and everything for others, and it can reach to the point where you give up your life.

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