What Does Green with Envy Mean?

Green With Envy Meaning

Definition: Jealous.

Origin of Green with Envy

Many cultures associate different colors with emotions or feelings. For example, many Western cultures think of red as symbolizing anger, blue for calm, white for purity, and black for evil.

Nowadays, many people associate green with environmentalism. However, the idea of green being the color of jealousy goes further back in time.

The expression green with envy dates back to the mid-1800s. However, variations of this expression go back even further. The famous English playwright William Shakespeare referred to the green sickness in his play Antony and Cleopatra, from the year 1607, and the green-eyed monster in his play Othello, from the year 1603. These idioms both have the same meaning as green with envy.

See here for a comparison between envy and jealousy.

Examples of Green with Envy

green with envy meansThis example shows two college students who just got home from winter vacation.

Frank: How was your winter break?

Karl: It was great! I love Christmas. My family always gives me the best gifts.

Frank: Really? My family never gets me anything good. What did you get?

Karl: They got me the latest hardware to play all those new computer games I’ve been wanting.

Frank: That’s awesome!

Karl: I know! And they gave me the games as well.

Frank: Wow. I’m green with envy!

Karl: I’ll let you borrow them.

what is green with envyIn this example, two friends are borrowing clothes from each other.

Lily: You have so many cool clothes.

Grace: Feel free to borrow any of them.

Lily: Thanks, but you have a lot of bright colors. I can’t wear anything colorful because it makes me look to pale. You look good in everything. I’m green with envy!

Grace: Nonsense. You look good in everything too!

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about how social media can make you a better person.

  • The key is to follow people whose lifestyle, careers or hobbies you admire; people whose Instagram feeds give you inspiration. Use those feeds to make a roadmap to your goals, whether you’re looking to eat better, like me, or feel better or look better. And if someone’s social media style turns you off or makes you green with envy? Unfollow, stat. –New York Post

This excerpt is from an article about the life of a successful actress.

  • Born and bred in the Midwest, Metcalf graduated from Illinois State University, where she met Terry Kinney, Jeff Perry (who became her first husband) and John Malkovich, a group that could make the Yale School of Drama green with envy. –LA Times


The phrase green with envy is a way to describe a person who covets what another person has.