death wish


Definition of death wish

: the conscious or unconscious desire for the death of oneself or of another

Examples of death wish in a Sentence

Have you seen the way she drives? She must have a death wish.
Recent Examples on the Web On May 29th, the second day of no-hiking conditions, one of the various weather reports indicated that, at around 9 p.m., a two-to-four-hour window might open during which a hike could qualify as a risk rather than as a death wish. Heidi Julavit, The New Yorker, 16 Aug. 2021 When your choices are to go on a death wish of a mission or die, someone will always die, one way or another. Washington Post, 6 Aug. 2021 Somehow, Statham rallied the lightness to discuss being a softie father to real son Jack, 3, (with model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) and granting Post Malone's onscreen death wish. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 6 May 2021 Freud, in particular, showered Western letters with now common phrases: repression, death wish, slip of the tongue, denial, transference. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 26 Mar. 2021 The challenge itself is as amusing as always, but damn do these British queens have a death wish … for their fellow contestants. Brian Moylan, Vulture, 25 Feb. 2021 My bucket list was morphing into a death wish, even before my first pass across the grass. Globe Staff,, 31 July 2020 Most of the people sharing photos of domineering goats and marauding boars are not expressing a latent death wish. Amanda Hess, New York Times, 17 Apr. 2020 Chris Hemsworth stars as a mercenary with a lowkey death wishHemsworth plays Tyler Rake, a killing machine who takes on what seems like a simple assignment, which of course grows complicated, with lots of twists. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, 23 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'death wish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of death wish

1856, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About death wish

Time Traveler for death wish

Time Traveler

The first known use of death wish was in 1856

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near death wish

death weight

death wish


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for death wish

Cite this Entry

“Death wish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for death wish

death wish


English Language Learners Definition of death wish

: a desire to die

death wish


Medical Definition of death wish

: the conscious or unconscious desire for the death of another or of oneself

called also destrudo


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!