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verb \ˈwȯnt also ˈwänt & ˈwənt\

Simple Definition of want

  • : to desire or wish for (something)

  • : to need (something)

  • : to be without (something needed)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of want

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to be needy or destitute

  3. 2 :  to have or feel need <never wants for friends>

  4. 3 :  to be necessary or needed

  5. 4 :  to desire to come, go, or be <the cat wants in> <wants out of the deal>

  6. transitive verb
  7. 1 :  to fail to possess especially in customary or required amount :  lack <the answer wanted courtesy>

  8. 2 a :  to have a strong desire for <wanted a chance to rest> b :  to have an inclination to :  like <say what you want, he is efficient>

  9. 3 a :  to have need of :  require <the motor wants a tune-up> b :  to suffer from the lack of <thousands still want food and shelter>

  10. 4 :  ought —used with the infinitive <you want to be very careful what you say — Claudia Cassidy>

  11. 5 :  to wish or demand the presence of

  12. 6 :  to hunt or seek in order to apprehend <wanted for murder>

Examples of want in a sentence

  1. Do you want more coffee?

  2. He wants a bicycle for his birthday.

  3. I just wanted a chance to rest.

  4. She wanted more time to finish the test.

  5. Do you want anything from the store?

  6. What do you want for Christmas?

  7. You can choose whichever color you want.

  8. The motor wants a tune-up.

  9. Thousands of poor people still want food and shelter.

  10. Tell him that the teacher wants him.

Origin and Etymology of want

Middle English, from Old Norse vanta; akin to Old English wan deficient

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of want

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>.




Simple Definition of want

  • : the state or condition of not having any or enough of something

  • : something that is desired or needed

  • : the state or condition of being poor

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of want

  1. 1 a :  deficiency, lack <suffers from a want of good sense> b :  grave and extreme poverty that deprives one of the necessities of life

  2. 2 :  something wanted :  need, desire

  3. 3 :  personal defect :  fault

Examples of want in a sentence

  1. His attitude shows a want of proper respect.

  2. He is suffering from want of adequate sleep.

  3. people who are living in want

13th Century

First Known Use of want

13th century

Synonym Discussion of want

poverty, indigence, penury, want, destitution mean the state of one with insufficient resources. poverty may cover a range from extreme want of necessities to an absence of material comforts <the extreme poverty of the slum dwellers>. indigence implies seriously straitened circumstances <the indigence of her years as a graduate student>. penury suggests a cramping or oppressive lack of money <a catastrophic illness that condemned them to years of penury>. want and destitution imply extreme poverty that threatens life itself through starvation or exposure <lived in a perpetual state of want> <the widespread destitution in countries beset by famine>.

WANT Defined for Kids



verb \ˈwȯnt, ˈwänt\

Definition of want for Students



  1. 1 :  to desire, wish, or long for something <I want to go home.>

  2. 2 :  to feel or suffer the need of something <… such a ghastly brew as to make me want to swoon. — Avi, Crispin>

  3. 3 :  to be without :  lack <Luckily, my family does not want much.>




Definition of want for Students

  1. 1 :  2lack, shortage <His actions show a want of common sense.>

  2. 2 :  the state of being very poor <They died in want.>

  3. 3 :  a wish for something :  desire

Seen and Heard

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