“jalouser – jaloux – jalouse – jalousie” … jealousy and envy …

is a French verb and can even be a reflexive one: “se jalouser” …  It could have something to do with rivalry. English has a colourful expression … “green with envy!”

In a smallish community, Anglo Saxons sometimes think in terms of “keeping up with the Joneses” which idiomatically expresses the notion of being envious of someone else’s visible signs of prosperity. Which leads us back to the words desire, and hence, a state of unsatisfied desire, or insatisfaction leading to want … but quite far from … need or necessary.

English has two adjectives, necessarily unsexed: jealous and envious; French has the masculine jaloux (5 400 000 hits in Google) and  feminine : jalouse (2 890 000 hits in Google) – Quite a big difference but maybe there are historical and literary reasons for these statistics.  For the record, jealous shows up about 51 000 000 times while envious appears almost 8 000 000 times – but that again, may be due to the effort required to pronounce three syllables rather than just 2 …  or because English is so predominant nowadays. Unless it has something to do with highly effective advertising and insatiable consumerism.

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Author: Mark