What does “tener envidia” mean? Spanish is different, I think we all know that by now, and the translations don’t work, but at the end of the day Spanish always make sense, ok….let’s just say most of the times :S , and that is the case today…something a bit different but makes sense when you think about it.

Often when my students go on holidays I say “Oh…!qué envidia!” most of them look at me surprised, why? Easy! They have no idea what I am saying, so I thought I would write about this common sentences today 🙂


What does “tener envidia” mean?

Easy we can use it in different context and it can go along with different verbs but the translation on “envidia” is the same “envy”, I know I know, if you are an English speaker probably you think this is a bit too much as in English you would just say “I am so jealous”, but since in Spanish jealous- “celoso” has a slightly different meaning as most of the times has a romantic implication, you can be jealous of someone,  like when your partner talk to another person or spend a lot of time with someone else…but this is not the case we are talking in today’s post. We are focusing on the day a day conversations you have.

So as let’s recap, “tener envidia” equals “ to be jealous” or more literal “to have envy”, so far so good…

Let’s have a look of the several verbs can go with “envidia”

-tener envidia,

this is the most common verbs to go with If someone is telling you is travelling for a few months around the word, and after that she or he will still have their job, you probably want to kill them 😛 but first you would shout, and yes I literally mean shout here 😉

-!No me lo puedo creer!Tengo mucha envidia!Leevame contigo-“I can’t believe it, I am so jealous, take me with you” 🙂

To make it shorther most of the time we say !Qué envidia!-“I am so jealous!”-simpler 🙂


-dar envidia,

ok a tricky one, as it can be in a good or bad way

Bad one-if someone you know is always trying to make people jealous with his things, even when it does not work.

Jaime siempre trata de dar envidia con las cosas que hace, pero no me parecen intersantes para nada- “Jaime is always trying to make us jealous with the things he does, but I do not think they are interesting at all.”

Good way-If your friends are telling you their plans for the summer and you have made your own ones but theirs look much more fun, I think we all have been there…like my friend going to Thailand and me going home for a wedding :S –anyway you can always say

Deja de darme envidia-“Stop making me jealous”


#important-So in a few words “tener envidia” is “to have envy” which as I promise makes sense, does not it?


Now let’s see some interesting and useful variants,


-morirse de envidia,

It is not quite literal like dying from envy, but it is a bad thing to have,so  this one is often used with a bad way, I mean we use it to refer someone we know is a bit envious,

If your friend is talking about a promotion and all of your friends are happy for them except for one, then you will talk to your friend, yeah probably behind his back-bad thing to do guys, but great for my example

¿Has visto Jorge?No te ha dicho nada, está muerto de envidia-“Have you seen Jorge? He has not said a word, he is green with envy”

-envidia cochina,

when the envy is quite extreme, pig or sow envy, most of the time is used in a funny way as well, as nobody is sick of envy, or if they are they do not express it out loud.

And it is the person who is doing the good thing who say it to shut the people talking up.

Ok let’s explain this better with an example.

If you are talking about going somewhere during  the weekend and someone says,

“He estado alli, y no te va a gustar, no es tan bonito y dos días son demasiados, además normalmente hace mal tiempo”-“I have been there, you are not going to like it, it is not so good, two days is too long to stay there and it is usually bad weather”

You can say

Lo que pasa es que tienes envidia cochina que voy de viaje y tú no-“what happenes is that you are green with envy that I am going away and you don’t.”

That would make them to be quiet 🙂  #trick


-envidia sana,

no..such a thing does not exit even when people try to justify it,  envy is envy, and it is always bad 🙂  but it is quite popular in Spanish use this when someone you know and like is doing really good or have a really good chance

Imagine your cousin has got a job and she is going to be travelling a few countries with her job, you will be happy for you and you will congratulate her saying

“!Enhorabuena! Tienes muchisima suerte, no sabes la envidia que me das, envidia sana, claro 😛  “-“Congratulations! You are so lucky, I am really jealous, but in a good way”




This sentences can also have double sense as we can say we are so happy for someone but what we really think is not that, example,

You might meet a friend who has won the new psp on a raffle and you want that psp but you havent mannage to save enough to get it yet so when your friend comes to you saying.


-Mira lo que he ganado-“look what I have won”

You will say

!Qué envidia! Pero de la sana ¿eh?- “Oh I am so jealous, but in the good way..”

But you are actually thinking espero que no le funcione –”I hope it does not work”



#extra an today you also get an idiom which use “envidia” –si la envidia fuera tiña cuantos tiñosos habría” literally is “if envy were ringworm lot of people would suffer from it”, kind of, or which is the same “the word is full of envious people”.

we normally use this sentences in a funny way like if your colleague at work is picking on you, joking, obviously 🙂  because you are on holidays next week, which is supposed to be very busy, you could say

“Si la envidia fuera tiña cuantos tiñosos habría”, letting him know that you know he is picking on you because “tiene envidia” –he is jealous

You also can leave the sentences unfinished like “si la envidia fuera tiña…” everybody knows how it goes 🙂

#note-I know more of the examples are related to travel, but it is the thing that really makes me jealous-me da mucha envidia, but of course if can apply to everything.


Homework-Practice makes perfection, so give this sentences a chance, leave a comment below with a sentences using “tener envidia”, I promise it will stick in your brain, and if you repeat that same sentences for a couple of times each day for 3 days, you will get it!You will be a step ahead in your Spanish learning journey, and next time you have the chance to use it in conversation with your Spanish friends their jaws will drop J, seriously, try it!


Now it is your turn– I would love to hear from you, leave a comment below, I am curious about…

-did you know what “tener envidia” meant before this blog?

-did you hear “tener envidia”before?

– Have you ever use it?

And lastly share the blog if you like it and help me to spread the Spanish language 🙂


As usual I hope you enjoyed the blog, and  I will write to you again pronto

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