desire

verb
de·​sire | \ di-ˈzī(-ə)r How to pronounce desire (audio) , 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

Serve with tomato wedges tossed with sliced scallions, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, if desired. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Pork Milanese Sandwich with Tomato Salad," 7 June 2019 Remove the pan from the heat, taste, and season with salt, if desired. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "Sakara Brings Healthy Eating Home With Their New Made-for-Instagram Cookbook," 19 Mar. 2019 Update: Helm notified me after the review went live that the initial setup can indeed be done wirelessly if desired. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Review: Helm Personal Server gets email self-hosting (almost) exactly right," 4 Dec. 2018 Top with unsweetened whipped cream, yogurt or ice cream, if desired. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Table for 1: For solo diners, cooking at home offers many perks," 12 July 2018 Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and another 1 or 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette, if desired (remaining vinaigrette can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days). Adam Ried, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipes: Vinaigrettes and dressings to dress up meals," 1 June 2018 That’s made by adding chopped lettuce, tomato and fresh or fried onions with a sprinkle of oregano and, if desired, some olive oil and vinegar. Joseph A. Gambardello, Philly.com, "How to make a Philly cheesesteak," 5 July 2018 If desired, stir the cooked vegetables into the gravy. Roxanne Wyss And Kathy Moore, kansascity, "Flavorful roast beef highlights this dad’s skill with the grill," 19 June 2018 In short, black people rightfully desired equitable public institutions—like schools—and wanted to make lives better for themselves and their families. Preston Mitchum, The Root, "Brown v. Board of Education,," 17 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One of the reasons Google has neglected to build a real iMessage fighter is due to its desire to keep carriers and OEMs happy, and this new RCS system is still built with the carrier's best interests in mind. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google’s ninth attempt at a messaging service will be based on RCS," 18 June 2019 Evidence suggests that intimate partner violence stems from a desire for control or power that can be exacerbated by substance abuse. Emilie Eaton, ExpressNews.com, "Another drug court in San Antonio will tackle problem of family violence," 17 June 2019 In late July and August social gatherings can take up more of your time and your desire for romance could be energized. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for June 17, 2019: Sagittarius, call on friends for financial advice; Virgo, remain diplomatic," 17 June 2019 But when Nina senses the spirit of Daniel’s dead wife, a once-promising artist, his desire to reconnect with her quickly becomes an obsession. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Ready for takeoff? Here's your first look at the 2019 Flyover Film Festival in Louisville," 16 June 2019 According to Kristen Brown, the company’s relocation director, being all-in goes hand-in-hand with the expectations that relocation clients have today, and their desire for an outstanding customer experience. Michelle Sandlin, Houston Chronicle, "On the Move: Relocation Spotlight on Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene," 16 June 2019 That can encourage more fathers to act on their desires to spend time with their kids, to take the paternity leaves they are offered, and to show employers that #dadlife matters. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "In Praise of Dadfluencers," 16 June 2019 To think that my own desire could burn down my life. Jane Ratcliffe, Longreads, "‘Brokenness and Holiness Really Go Together’: Darcey Steinke on Menopause," 15 June 2019 But as injuries derailed the Pelicans’ season, so to did Davis’ MVP hopes - and his desire to stay in New Orleans at all. Andrew Lopez, nola.com, "Anthony Davis traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for 3 players, multiple picks," 15 June 2019

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 and Noun

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

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More Definitions for desire

desire

verb

English Language Learners Definition of desire

 (Entry 1 of 2)

somewhat formal : to want or wish for (something) : to feel desire for (something)
: to want to have sex with (someone)
formal : 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 How to pronounce desire (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on desire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with desire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for desire

Spanish Central: Translation of desire

Nglish: Translation of desire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of desire for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about desire

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