Symbols of Jealousy and Their Meanings (Explained)

Jealousy is a complex emotion that can bring out a range of feelings and behaviors in individuals. Throughout history, various symbols have been associated with jealousy and its meanings. These symbols often represent the intricate nuances of this powerful emotion and provide insight into its effects on human relationships.

In this article, we will delve into the symbols of jealousy and their meanings. From objects and colors to animals and gestures, each symbol carries its own significance in portraying the complexities of jealousy. Additionally, we will explore the cultural and contextual symbolism surrounding jealousy, shedding light on the different interpretations that exist across various societies and time periods. Join us as we unravel the intriguing symbolism behind jealousy!


Objects can also be used as symbols of jealousy, representing different aspects and manifestations of this complex emotion. Here are some common objects associated with jealousy and their meanings:

  • Green-eyed monster: The phrase “green-eyed monster” is often used to describe jealousy. It originates from Shakespeare’s play Othello, where the character Iago refers to jealousy as a monster with green eyes. The color green is often associated with envy and jealousy.
  • Lock and key: A lock and key symbolize possessiveness and the desire to control. In the context of jealousy, it represents the fear of losing someone or something to another person.
  • Hourglass: An hourglass can symbolize the passage of time and the fear of being left behind or replaced by someone else. It represents the idea that time is running out and the feeling of urgency to hold onto what one has.
  • Magnifying glass: A magnifying glass is often associated with suspicion and the tendency to scrutinize and find faults in others. It represents the need to investigate and uncover potential threats or betrayals.
  • Torn or broken objects: Torn or broken objects can symbolize the damage caused by jealousy. They represent the destruction of relationships, trust, and happiness.
  • Comparison tools: Objects like scales or measuring tapes can symbolize the act of comparing oneself to others and feeling inadequate or inferior. They represent the desire to be better than others and the fear of being overshadowed or replaced.

These objects serve as visual representations of the complex emotions and behaviors associated with jealousy. They can help us understand the psychological and emotional aspects of jealousy and its impact on relationships and individuals.


Colors play a significant role in symbolizing jealousy and its various aspects. Different colors can evoke different emotions and convey different meanings. Here are some colors commonly associated with jealousy:

  • Green: Green is often associated with jealousy due to its connection with the phrase “green with envy.” It represents feelings of envy, possessiveness, and resentment. The color green is also associated with growth and fertility.
  • Yellow: Yellow can symbolize jealousy as well, particularly in its darker shades. It represents feelings of mistrust, betrayal, and deceit. Yellow is also associated with cowardice and caution.
  • Red: While red is typically associated with love and passion, it can also symbolize jealousy in certain contexts. Red can represent intense emotions, including jealousy and anger. It is often linked to feelings of possessiveness and a desire for control.
  • Black: Black can symbolize jealousy, particularly when associated with darkness and negativity. It represents feelings of bitterness, envy, and a desire for revenge.

The interpretation of these colors may vary depending on cultural and contextual factors. It is important to consider the specific cultural associations and meanings attributed to colors in different societies and contexts when interpreting their symbolism.


Animals have long been associated with various emotions and traits, including jealousy. Here are some animals that symbolize jealousy:

  • Snake: In many cultures, snakes are symbols of jealousy and deceit. Their ability to shed their skin and slither unnoticed represents their cunning and deceptive nature.
  • Peacock: The peacock’s vibrant feathers have been associated with jealousy and envy. The saying “green with envy” may refer to the green hues in a peacock’s plumage.
  • Hyena: Hyenas are often seen as jealous creatures, known for their opportunistic and scavenging behavior.
  • Red-Eyed Tree Frog: The red-eyed tree frog’s vibrant red eyes have been linked to jealousy and possessiveness.

These animals serve as symbolic representations of jealousy and can be used in literature, art, and storytelling to evoke the emotions tied to this complex emotion.


Gestures can also be used as symbols of jealousy, often conveying specific meanings or emotions. Here are a few gestures commonly associated with jealousy:

  1. Side-eye: The side-eye gesture involves subtly looking at someone out of the corner of your eye, typically with a squint or raised eyebrow. It can convey skepticism, suspicion, or envy towards a person or their actions.
  2. Rolling eyes: Rolling your eyes is a gesture that signifies annoyance, disdain, or frustration. When used in the context of jealousy, it can express frustration or irritation towards someone who is receiving attention or praise.
  3. Forced smile: A forced or fake smile is a telltale sign of jealousy. It’s a smile that doesn’t reach the eyes and is often used as a facade to hide negative emotions or envy towards others.
  4. Crossed arms: Crossing your arms in front of your chest can be a defensive and closed-off gesture. In the context of jealousy, it may indicate feelings of insecurity or defensiveness in comparison to someone else’s success or good fortune.
  5. Non-verbal cues of discomfort: Jealousy can manifest in various non-verbal cues such as fidgeting, shifting weight from one foot to another, or avoiding eye contact. These gestures may indicate feelings of insecurity, unease, or envy.

It’s important to note that gestures alone may not always accurately convey jealousy, as they can be interpreted differently depending on the context and individual. It’s crucial to consider the overall body language, verbal cues, and facial expressions to better understand someone’s emotions and intentions.

Cultural and Contextual Symbolism

When it comes to symbols of jealousy, cultural and contextual symbolism plays a significant role in understanding the meanings behind these symbols. Different cultures have their own unique symbols and interpretations of jealousy, which can vary widely.

In Western cultures, the color green is often associated with jealousy. This can be seen in phrases such as “green with envy” or “the green-eyed monster.” Green is believed to represent the feelings of envy, greed, and jealousy. Other cultures, however, may have different associations with the color green or entirely different symbols for jealousy.

For example, in Hindu mythology, the snake is often associated with jealousy. The snake is believed to represent the dark and dangerous emotions that can arise from jealousy. In some African cultures, birds such as crows or vultures may symbolize jealousy due to their association with death and darkness.

It’s important to consider the cultural and contextual symbolism when interpreting symbols of jealousy. What may be seen as a symbol of jealousy in one culture could have a completely different meaning in another culture. Understanding the cultural context can help provide deeper insights into the symbolism and meaning behind these symbols.


Throughout different cultures and contexts, symbols of jealousy can vary in their meanings. Whether represented through objects, colors, animals, gestures, or cultural and contextual symbolism, these symbols can provide insights into the complex emotions of jealousy. It is important to understand the nuances and interpretations of these symbols in order to gain a deeper understanding of the human experience.

By exploring the rich symbolism associated with jealousy, we can develop a greater appreciation for the complexity of emotions and the diversity of meanings across different cultures. These symbols serve as a reminder that jealousy is a universal human experience, and learning about its various expressions can contribute to a more empathetic and inclusive society.

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