My favorite online dictionary tells me that jealousy is followed by the preposition of:

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


But when I checked just-the-word, I noticed that of is used only precedent to jealousy.
Prepositions following the noun are between, about and at. Looking at the examples for jealousy about and jealousy at, it seems to me that about and at are the prepositions which are 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 mentioned above, the dictionary says it is possible to say jealousy of sth. In my understanding, this 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 reliable sources that show the use of jealousy of sb. Though, 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 I'm jealous of?

  • Supplementary question: How do I combine in one sentence both pieces of information — the person I'm jealous of and the reason why I'm jealous?
    I could probably use a 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 parents' money (suppose they gave him the car as a present). How could I handle such a thing?

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

  • 4
    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
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 8:06
  • Also, jealousy for, which is the second or third most popular on Ngrams.
    – zpletan
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 16:29
  • jealous of him good looking, jealous about his good looks.
    – SF.
    Commented Apr 20, 2012 at 7:49
  • Your entire question would make sense that f you replace the noun 'jealousy' with the adjective 'jealous'.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 22:28

7 Answers 7


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.

  • “Paul was jealous for his wife” sounds utterly bizarre to me. I cannot think of any context where for is a possible preposition to use to indicate the object of one’s jealousy in my English. It may be a regionalism. In all your examples, of is the only preposition I would use; in the third one, possibly also at, but primarily of. Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 17:03
  • "Jealous for" could be used if someone is jealous on behalf of someone else. Paul's wife's colleague won an award that he thinks should or could have gone to her. It would also be used in the question "What are you so jealous for?", as in " 'why', or 'for what reason' are you so jealous?".
    – PvtBuddie
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 20:24

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.

  • Yes, in other words, it depends on what you want to say. Here's an example for "jealousy over": He does not sleep from jealousy over his young, beautiful wife. It suggests that he wants to own her and is afraid that she might have affairs with other men. Commented May 22, 2019 at 7:44

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

  • 'on' is not a preposition?
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 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
    Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 3:38
  • On discovering would make it a little clearer. Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 18:58

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.

  • The question asks about the noun jealousy, not about the adjective jealous.
    – herisson
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 15:37

It sounds like what's being discussed here is "envy" rather than jealousy. Envy is a DESIRE-based emotion. You envy someone who is richer or smarter than you, and desire to be equally rich or smart. Jealously, in contrast, is a FEAR-based emotion. You fear that a competitor threatens to replace you as a friend or lover. You fear losing something precious to you. Thus you are envious OF your neighbor or OF your neighbor's flashier car. But if you catch your neighbor eyeing or sneaking around with your spouse, you are jealous --- you fear that your spouse will leave you for your neighbor. So, are you jealous OF your neighbor's interest in your spouse? To what or whom is your jealously directed? to the neighbor? to your spouse? to the threat to your relationship? I think that the English language is unclear on these questions.


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


  • 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
    Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 6:58
  • Not every emotion has the same kind of ... target. Some don't really have any, although emotion might not be the best word for those. But jealousy in particular is a desire to have, own or possess something, or to believe one had it then feel aggrieved at its loss; but it's the inherent meaning of the word that it's of/over the thing that is desired. Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 16:14



I was jealous of her nice drawing.

She was jealous about her having a YouTube channel.

They were jealous about us having more points than them.

All of them have the same meaning.

  • 1
    The question was about the noun jealousy.
    – herisson
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 15:32
  • @sumelic you might well say the same to all but one of the answers.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 9:44

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