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verb, de·sire \di-ˈzī(-ə)r, dē-\

Simple Definition of desire

  • : to want or wish for (something) : to feel desire for (something)

  • : to want to have sex with (someone)

  • : to express a wish for (something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of desire


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to long or hope for :  exhibit or feel desire for <desire success>

  3. 2 a :  to express a wish for :  request <they desire an immediate answer> b archaic :  to express a wish to :  ask

  4. 3 obsolete :  invite

  5. 4 archaic :  to feel the loss of

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to have or feel desire

Examples of desire in a sentence

  1. He desired her approval more than anything.

  2. The apartment has modern amenities, a great location—everything you could desire.

  3. She knew that men still desired her.

Origin of desire

Middle English, from Anglo-French desirer, from Latin desiderare, from de- + sider-, sidus heavenly body

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of desire

desire, wish, want, crave, covet mean to have a longing for. desire stresses the strength of feeling and often implies strong intention or aim <desires to start a new life>. wish sometimes implies a general or transient longing especially for the unattainable <wishes for permanent world peace>. want specifically suggests a felt need or lack <wants to have a family>. crave stresses the force of physical appetite or emotional need <craves sweets>. covet implies strong envious desire <covets his rise to fame>.



noun de·sire

Simple Definition of desire

  • : the feeling of wanting something

  • : a strong wish : a wish for something or to do something

  • : a feeling of wanting to have sex with someone

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of desire

  1. 1 :  conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment

  2. 2 a :  longing, craving b :  sexual urge or appetite

  3. 3 :  a usually formal request or petition for some action

  4. 4 :  something desired

Examples of desire in a sentence

  1. Desire is a common theme is music and literature.

  2. The magazine tries to attend to the needs and desires of its readers.

  3. Both sides feel a real desire for peace.

  4. His decisions are guided by his desire for land.

  5. They expressed a desire to go with us.

  6. They have a desire to have children.

  7. a strong desire to travel around the world

  8. He was overcome with desire for her.

14th Century

First Known Use of desire

14th century

DESIRE Defined for Kids



verb de·sire \di-ˈzīr\

Definition of desire for Students


  1. 1 :  to long for :  wish for in earnest <Both sides desire peace.>

  2. 2 :  to express a wish for :  request <The council desires an immediate response.>



noun de·sire

Definition of desire for Students

  1. 1 :  a strong wish :  longing <a desire for companionship>

  2. 2 :  something longed for <It was his heart's desire to return home.>

Law Dictionary


transitive verb de·sire

Legal Definition of desire


  1. :  to wish for earnestly — see also precatory

Additional Notes on desire

Courts have variously interpreted desire in wills to indicate either a direction of the testator that must be followed or merely an expression of what the testator hoped would happen.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up desire? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a timid, meek, or unassertive person

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