I'm looking for two words:

1) when in my mother language we call someone (especially a man), "possessive" or "jealous" (towards his / her spouse), it has a positive connotation and it is a sign of being a real and reliable lover (man or woman). If e.g. a man gets angry when his wife wants to kiss or shake another man's hand warmly (with sexual approach), a real man should be angry because of their possessiveness / jealousy. Actually, these two above-mentioned words (which both have negative connotations) are the only words I found to explain such a sense. I would be really thankful if you let me know whether there is another word to convey a more positive sense.

2) What do the natives call someone who lacks these feelings and it doesn't make any difference for him / her that if their spouse has any type of out of convention / sexual relationship with another opposite sex?

  • We say that someone is: Protective or more commonly; very protective.
    – Joe Dark
    Aug 31, 2016 at 9:51

2 Answers 2


I think you are right that jealous and possessive are the two most appropriate words. Yes, they do both have negative connotations, but a complete absence of jealousy can be regarded by a person with a negative outlook as uncaring or unemotional, and by a person with a positive outlook as trustful or trusting.

In western society, it seems that both men and women are expected to show occasional signs of jealousy, but they are expected to keep their anger in check.

If a person knows that their partner is having sex with other people, they might be called broad-minded. This term has both a specific meaning relating to sex and a more general meaning: the context would indicate which meaning is intended.

  • Thank you JavaLatte. Could you please let me know if the adjective "broad-minded" has a negative connotation or not.
    – A-friend
    Aug 31, 2016 at 10:10
  • 1
    @A-friend, the word does not have a negative connotation, though prudish people may disapprove of a person who is said to be broad-minded concerning sex.
    – JavaLatte
    Aug 31, 2016 at 10:41

Perhaps (1) positive/protective jealousy, protectiveness, self-respect(?); or, alternatively, Ghayrah. The second word requested could be described as lacking the above characteristics.

  • 1
    Seriously? Since when has this Arabic term become English?
    – Cardinal
    Aug 31, 2016 at 10:31
  • I think that the term self-respect is interesting in this context: it suggests that a person who is jealous in this way is concerned only about what people think of them, and not about what their partner thinks of them. protectiveness might have similar overtones: protecting one's reputation, rather than protecting one's partner.
    – JavaLatte
    Aug 31, 2016 at 10:44
  • @Cardinal, Ghayrah is an islamic term, not specifically an arabic term. Five percent of the population of the UK are muslim: if they decide that there is no appropriate English term for this, they are entitled to treat it as an English word. Nobody questions any of the other thousand or so arabic words that have been adopted into English- arsenal, jar, syrup...
    – JavaLatte
    Aug 31, 2016 at 10:54
  • @JavaLatte Although I don't know who is in the right place to include or exclude words in UK, I agree that there is a relationship between languages.
    – Cardinal
    Aug 31, 2016 at 11:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .