desire

verb
de·sire | \di-ˈzī(-ə)r, dē-\
desired; desiring

Definition of desire 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to long or hope for : exhibit or feel desire for desire success knew that men still desired her

2a : to express a wish for : request they desire an immediate answer

b archaic : to express a wish to : ask desired them to reconsider

3 obsolete : invite

4 archaic : to feel the loss of

intransitive verb

: to have or feel desire They may come if they so desire.

desire

noun

Definition of desire (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : conscious impulse (see impulse entry 2 sense 3) toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment ridding oneself of all desires how humans process desire

2a : longing, craving teenagers' desire for independence … the inexpensive homebuilt craft that satisfy many people's desire to fly— James Fallows

b : sexual urge or appetite

3 : something longed or hoped for : something desired You are my heart's desire.

4 : a usually formal request or petition for some action at the desire of one fifth of those presentU.S. Constitution

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Choose the Right Synonym for desire

Verb

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

Verb

desire, wish, and crave mean to want something very much. desire is used when a person has a great feeling for and actually strives to get what is wanted. The immigrants desired a better life. wish is used when a person wants something that he or she has little or no chance of getting. He foolishly sat around and wished for wealth. crave is used for the force of physical or mental needs. The hungry dogs craved food.

Examples of desire in a Sentence

Verb

He desired her approval more than anything. The apartment has modern amenities, a great location—everything you could desire. She knew that men still desired her.

Noun

Desire is a common theme is music and literature. The magazine tries to attend to the needs and desires of its readers. Both sides feel a real desire for peace. His decisions are guided by his desire for land. They expressed a desire to go with us. They have a desire to have children. a strong desire to travel around the world He was overcome with desire for her.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Even better, the old computer was for sale along with the elusive but much-desired Portrait Display, a must-have for the desktop publishing industry of its time. Chris Wilkinson, Ars Technica, "1990, meet 2018: How far does 20MHz of Macintosh IIsi power go today?," 1 July 2018 There are some men who simply desire to see unease and fear in a woman’s face. Caitlin Moran, The Cut, "How to Tell the Bad Men From the Good Men," 5 July 2018 Those who so desire may make memorial donations in memory of George to the American Heart Association (heart.org) or to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org). Orlando Sentinel, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Deaths in Central Florida: 7/1," 1 July 2018 Those who so desire may make memorial donations in memory of Robert to the Cancer Research Institute (Cancer Research Institute, Web Donation,29 Broadway, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10006-3111). Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Robert Lynn Rolfe," 14 June 2018 Trump, who desires a measure of chaos at all times, is reveling in the effects of his own mercurial decision-making, the people said. BostonGlobe.com, "Exhausted aides of a chaotic president eye White House exits," 11 June 2018 Trump, who desires a measure of chaos at all times, is reveling in the effects of his own mercurial decision-making, the people said. Anchorage Daily News, "Exhausted aides of a chaotic president eye White House exits," 11 June 2018 One of the points of contention about the changes is how the city should handle issuing permits to residents who desire to have live music at parties or other gatherings. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora looking at changes to noise ordinance, may require permit for bands in residential areas," 6 June 2018 Parents have filed a formal complaint with Portland Public Schools that asserts the district is illegally prioritizing students who desire to attend specialty schools such as an arts magnet over highly-gifted students who need a special program. Bethany Barnes, OregonLive.com, "Complaint: Access Academy students who need alternative education given short shrift," 26 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The desire for dedicated pickleball courts ranked in the top 25 things residents wanted the Naperville Park District to provide, according to a survey conducted in March. Gary Gibula, Naperville Sun, "Naperville answering demand for pickleball with new courts at Nike Complex, Southwest Park," 14 July 2018 Trump speaks fondly of Putin and a desire for better relations with Moscow, but the rest of his executive branch remains highly critical and deeply suspicious of the Russian president and the Kremlin’s intentions. Matthew Lee, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump wish for warm Putin ties highlights policy disconnect," 14 July 2018 But the desire to integrate them as part of a curated Instagram lifestyle is something novel. Madeline Buxton, refinery29.com, "How Scooters Became A Go-To Instagram Prop — & The Next Transportation Revolution," 12 July 2018 Those children at the border, those children in the caves, my father and my aunt, and my 7-year-old self shared the same thing: A visceral need, a profound desire, to go home. Christine M. Flowers, Philly.com, "As politicians duke it out, we must remember that most children just want to go home | Christine Flowers," 12 July 2018 People post ads that are incredibly frank about their identities and desires, often in ways that encourage even more honestly from both readers and future Personals post-ers. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "Could a Text-Based Dating App Change Selfie-Swiping Culture?," 10 July 2018 For example, take the newest member of the retrograde club: Mars, the ruling planet of energy, desire, and assertiveness. Jodie Layne, Teen Vogue, "Mars Retrograde 2018: What You Need to Know," 26 June 2018 That desire to teach and an observation that south suburban adults are looking for purposeful outings that bring people together led to the recent opening of Farmhouse Academy in Mokena. Donna Vickroy, Daily Southtown, "Cooking classes, camps and events offered for kids and adults at newly opened Farmhouse Academy in Mokena," 19 June 2018 And though these made our mean old heart pulsate with desire, the real news was back at Couture, where the attendees were abuzz with the decision that no less a company than De Beers has decided to embrace lab-grown diamonds. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "5 Dazzling New Jewelry Designers From the Las Vegas Couture Show," 15 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of desire

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for desire

Verb

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

Noun

see desire entry 1

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Statistics for desire

Last Updated

29 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for desire

The first known use of desire was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for desire

desire

verb

English Language Learners Definition of desire

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

: to want to have sex with (someone)

: to express a wish for (something)

desire

noun

English Language Learners Definition of desire (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

desire

verb
de·sire | \di-ˈzīr \
desired; desiring

Kids Definition of desire

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

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

desire

noun

Kids Definition of desire (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a strong wish : longing a desire for companionship

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

de·sire
desired; desiring

Legal Definition of desire 

: to wish for earnestly — see also precatory

Note: 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.

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Comments on desire

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