Simple Definition of wistful
: having or showing sad thoughts and feelings about something that you want to have or do and especially about something that made you happy in the past
Examples of wistful in a sentence
She was wistful for a moment, then asked, “Do you remember the old playground?”.
He had a wistful look on his face.
Did You Know?
Are you yearning to know the history of wistful? If so, we can ease your melancholy a little by telling you that wistful comes from a combination of wishful and wistly, a now obsolete word meaning "intently." We can't say with certainty where wistly came from, but it may have sprung from whistly, an old term meaning "silently" or "quietly." How did the supposed transition from a word meaning "quietly" to one meaning "intently" come about? That's something to muse about, but the answer isn't known.
Origin and Etymology of wistful
blend of wishful and obsolete English wistly intently
First Known Use: 1714
WISTFUL Defined for Kids
Definition of wistful for Students
: feeling or showing a quiet longing especially for something in the past
wistfully\-fə-lē\ adverb <There had been a time, he remembered it wistfully, when things had been quite different … — Robert Lawson, Rabbit Hill>
Seen and Heard
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