Green Eyed Jealousy – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Have you seen the expressions 'green eyed jealousy' or 'green with jealousy' somewhere and would like to know more about the meaning or why people say this? The phrase means that someone is jealous, and it's a common figurative saying. This post explores its most common use and origin.


'Green eyed jealousy' is a common figurative expression in the English language that can be used to mean that someone is extremely jealous.

The saying can also be used as 'green with jealousy' in some circumstances, though both phrases carry the same meaning.

The phrase is common in English, especially in the US and UK, although it might also be a phrase that is easily lost in translation when taken into other languages as a direct phrase.

When someone uses the phrase 'green eyed jealousy' then the saying has negative implications for the person it is being said to or about.

There are no direct opposites for the phrase.

The phrase 'green eyed jealousy' or alternatively 'green with jealousy' can be used as a statement, a response, or used when discussing someone else with a speaker.

The phrase is a common saying that associates an emotion with a color, of which several exist in the English language. For example 'seeing red' indicates that someone is angry.

Example Usage

“If you spend time looking at someone else's wife, then you shouldn't be angry if yours starts to look at you with some green eyed jealousy.”

“Green eyed jealousy was exactly what got my grandmother shot in the shoulder. Ask her about it someday if you ever happen to meet her.”

“Green eyed jealousy can be an ugly thing, my friend. There's a reason the Bible has so much to say about jealous people and how their life goes bad.”

“If someone is green with jealousy, they're not going to get very far in the industry. You'd better go and find another career if that's how you feel about your colleagues.”


According to most online language resources, the phrase 'green eyed jealousy' and its equivalent phrase 'green with jealousy' are most likely to have come from the works of William Shakespeare.

The saying 'green with jealousy' first appeared in the play Othello, though language resources also mention that it is one of the phrases that Shakespeare incorporated into more than one of his works.

Subsequent translation of Shakespeare's work has made the expression more popular, and this is likely what led to the incorporation of the saying into modern speech and dictionaries.

The phrase 'green with jealousy' has been used by other writers, and the famous line is usually included in adaptations of Othello (like the 2004 film) and other works.

According to resources, use of the phrase was repeated in Shakespeare's work The Merchant of Venice.

The phrase 'green with jealousy' is recorded on the website Urban Dictionary from 2008.

Phrases Similar to Green with Jealousy

  • Green with envy

Phrases Opposite to Green with Jealousy

  • N/a

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Green with jealousy
  • Green with jealousy

Ways People May Say Green with Jealousy Incorrectly

There are several ways in which someone can misunderstand the phrase 'green with jealousy' when it is used in conversation or text.

Someone can misunderstand the phrase's association with color, as green can also be used as an association for prosperity or nausea depending on the context.

The phrase can also be mistranslated, often into languages that will not have context for its direct translation. The phrase is a specific color association with emotion, common in English but easily misunderstood in other languages that do not make this association.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Green with Jealousy

There are several ways in which someone can use the phrase 'green with jealousy' in the correct way.

When someone is 'green with jealousy' it is usually used as a negative phrase that implies they are extremely jealous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *