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 1 sense 1) 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

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 Wilson went public with his complaints and desire to have more influence within the organization, a move that reportedly rankled team officials. oregonlive, "Russell Wilson ‘stormed out of the room’ after suggestions for fixing Seattle Seahawks offense dismissed as rift grows: Report," 25 Feb. 2021 Practicality, after so many months of sickness, felt trivial and irrelevant in comparison to desire. Philippa Snow, Vogue, "How Long-Haul COVID Has Me Rethinking My Entire Beauty Routine," 21 Jan. 2021 Certain anglers who have grown accustomed to keeping unlimited numbers of eelpout may desire a generous bag limit. Tony Kennedy, Star Tribune, "Harvest season possible for eelpout, a fish on the rise," 14 Jan. 2021 Employers still desire the skills provided by a high-quality M.B.A. education. WSJ, "Right Price Can Make an M.B.A. a Good Buy," 11 Jan. 2021 Once filming for Sweet Magnolias season 2 begins, Garcia Swisher will be able to keep her allergies in check and provide fans of the show with all the drama their little hearts desire. Christy Piña, Woman's Day, "JoAnna Garcia Swisher Says 'Sweet Magnolias' Season 2 Will Have MoreTwists and Turns Than Season 1," 14 Nov. 2020 When there are collective emotions felt by millions, the need and desire to make art becomes a coping mechanism as well as a necessity. Steven Lindsey, Dallas News, "Four D-FW artists share their thoughts on art during COVID-19 and its role in the year ahead," 30 Dec. 2020 To be Black and desire any kind of existence, even the quiet one of serving goat curry to customers, is to be seen as an agitator. Jennifer Wilson, The New Republic, "Steve McQueen and the Art of Gathering," 16 Dec. 2020 On the whole, the research shows, conservatives desire security, predictability and authority more than liberals do, and liberals are more comfortable with novelty, nuance and complexity. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, "Conservative and Liberal Brains Might Have Some Real Differences," 26 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The event was hailed by some as a clear demonstration of Hong Kong people’s desire for democratic elections. Robert Olsen, Forbes, "Hong Kong Charges 47 Democracy Activists With Subversion Under Security Law," 28 Feb. 2021 Taking the next step will be crucial for the Fire, who stressed a desire for continuity and brought in only a handful of offseason additions. Jeremy Mikula, chicagotribune.com, "Raphael Wicky — a former ‘water carrier’ with a ‘California vibe’ — is tasked with getting the Chicago Fire back to playoffs. But despite a 1st season filled with struggles, he’s optimistic entering 2021.," 28 Feb. 2021 In fact, puberty blockers, along with hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery, are medically effective in treating gender dysphoria in youth without generating any long-term desire for reversals. Sai Shanthanand Rajagopal, STAT, "Sen. Rand Paul misunderstands transgender medicine. Here’s the truth," 27 Feb. 2021 Anderson admitted that a big factor is a desire for control. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "Millwright’s restaurant in Simsbury is set to open its own farm and is looking to hire a farmer," 27 Feb. 2021 For the most part, BNC has aired straight newscasts, but surveys revealed a desire for more depth. David Bauder, ajc, "Black News Channel reloads with talk focus, morning show," 26 Feb. 2021 Digital self-harm may be due to depression, cyberbullying, anxiety or simply a desire for attention. Washington Post, "Digital self-harm: What to do when kids cyberbully themselves," 26 Feb. 2021 For the most part, BNC has aired straight newscasts, but surveys revealed a desire for more depth. David Bauder, Star Tribune, "Black News Channel reloads with talk focus, morning show," 26 Feb. 2021 Irving isn't alone in the desire for a redesign — a petition for a new NBA logo in memory of Bryant has garnered more than 3.2 million signatures (and counting) as of Thursday afternoon. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "Kyrie Irving Says Image of Kobe Bryant Should Be New Logo of the NBA — and Vanessa Bryant Responds," 25 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for desire

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for desire

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Desire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/desire. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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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.

Choose the Right Synonym for desire

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.

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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