Primero, mi pregunta en español:
En inglés, hay una diferencia entre "envy" y "jealousy." ¿Existe esta misma distincción en español?

Details in English:
If so, I am assuming that "envidia" corresonds with "envy" and "celos" with "jealousy." Correct?

As requested, I am going to add some definitions. Though I had many online resources to choose from, I really liked the way it was explained at Vocabulary.com, perhaps because it most closely resembled what I had remembered being taught in school. First, the definitions:


a feeling of grudging admiration and desire to have something that is possessed by another

spite and resentment at seeing the success of another (personified as one of the deadly sins)


a feeling of jealous envy (especially of a rival)

zealous vigilance

Though "envy" can be both a noun and a verb, to keep things simple, I only added the definitions of it as a noun.

Vocabulary.com actually devotes an entire page to the nuances in meaning between envy and jealousy. In essence, the difference is this:

Envy is when you want what someone else has, but jealousy is when you're worried someone's trying to take what you have.

For more details and examples visit Vocabulary.com's page on envy and jealousy.

I would rewrite this last addition in Spanish, but virtually the same thing is said in rodrigo's answer below.

Detalles en español:
Si lo es, estoy asumiendo que "envy" corresponde con "envidia" y "jealousy" con "celos." ¿Correcto?

  • Una pregunta interesante. ¿Podrías incluir las definiciones en inglés de envy y jealousy para que podamos ver con claridad la diferencia en los términos originales?
    – Charlie
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 20:20
  • Gracias, @Charlie, por tu sugerencia. Fue una idea excelente y mis disculpas por no haberlo visto antes.
    – Lisa Beck
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 2:31

1 Answer 1


Look at the definitions from the RAE dictionary:

1. f. Tristeza o pesar del bien ajeno.
2. f. Emulación, deseo de algo que no se posee.

celos: [I'm only citing the plural form)
3. Envidia del bien ajeno, o recelo de que el propio o pretendido llegue a ser alcanzado por otra persona.

So in Spanish they can be seen as partial synonyms, although celos has the additional meaning of fear of somebody gaining your own goods.

Reading the definitions of envy and jealous (jealousy redirects there), I think that your translations are pretty accurate.

PS. It is worth noting that in Spanish there is the expression envidia sana. The purported meaning is the "just like envy but without the resentment, just wishing that I could have/do the same".

  • 1
    Gracias por señalándome en la dirección al Diccionario de la Real Academia Española (DRAE). Hace un año, mis habilidades con español no fueron tan buenas. De hecho, sólo comencé a utilizar el DRAE regularmente hace aproximadamente un año. ¡Quizás fue tu respuesta que me influyó!
    – Lisa Beck
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 2:52

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