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

Or process ingredients in a blender, pulsing a bit at a time until salsa reaches desired consistency, whether coarse, smooth or in between. Eleanore Park, WSJ, "The Art of Eating Simply," 21 Feb. 2019 But Seattle will try to continue to mix in Mike Davis and Penny, especially now with 10 games in 10 weeks and desiring to keep everyone fresh enough to handle the rest of the season. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks-Lions keys to the game: Who will run it better? Can the Seahawks cool down Matthew Stafford?," 26 Oct. 2018 Unfortunately, that bill also allowed the arming of school employees, which was not requested by the Stoneman Douglas survivors, but was highly desired by the National Rifle Association. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Year After the Parkland Shooting, Has Anything Really Changed?," 14 Feb. 2019 Second, the gap between what patients desire and what the health-care system delivers is large in theory, but small in practice. WSJ, "The Good Death: On Leaving This World in a Satisfying Way," 15 Feb. 2019 The star acquisitions on defense fit the independent mold that defensive coordinator Wade Phillips desires. Gary Klein, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Ex-Dolphin Ndamukong Suh looks like super addition for Rams," 14 June 2018 Colvin estimated the cost of Brewer’s desired lighting and sign improvements at $60,000. Gregory Tejeda, Post-Tribune, "Gary OKs $282K to complete renovations of Hudson-Campbell Sports & Fitness Center," 17 May 2018 Today, what was once associated with staid older ladies is now desired by young Chinese millennial and generation Z shoppers. Andrea Felsted, The Seattle Times, "Karl Lagerfeld’s legacy is more than just Chanel suits," 19 Feb. 2019 Here's your formula: Square footage x desired depth / 324 = cubic yards needed. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How Much Mulch Do I Need? Here's the Easiest Way to Find Out," 6 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sedaris has no desire to teach people how to make a flawless pie crust, or even comment on the absurd quest for an Instagrammable life. Laura Studarus, Marie Claire, "Amy Sedaris Is the Anti-Marie Kondo," 19 Feb. 2019 Pokémon fan games that blow up on the internet often promise storylines where protagonists are older, or are in more complicated situations than simply having the desire to catch them all. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "The internet’s horrified with Detective Pikachu," 12 Nov. 2018 Dozier repeated his desire to die during recent interviews with the Reno Gazette Journal and Las Vegas Review-Journal. Ken Ritter, Time, "A Drug Company Is Suing to Stop Its Drug From Being Used in a Nevada Execution," 11 July 2018 The Court is sympathetic to the parents of the child and their desire to assuage their child. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Parents of transgender teen appealing name change ruling," 10 July 2018 Anthony's contract and his frustration with his role on the team last season have led to a mutual desire to separate at some point this summer. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Carmelo Anthony, Thunder will part ways before beginning of next season," 6 July 2018 For Mugisha Muntu, who led the army for a decade, the failings of the security apparatus illustrate the president’s two weaknesses: his desire to hang on to power and his tendency to subvert institutions. The Economist, "Uganda’s politicised police force is not reducing crime," 5 July 2018 La Familia has been experimenting with shrimp in this dish, Mariela says, as a nod to Connecticut’s desire for seafood. Leeanne Griffin, courant.com, "La Familia Brings Authentic Bolivian Food To Canton," 25 June 2018 The Indiana Pacers declined to pick up a team option on Lance Stephenson's contract for next season in a move team president Kevin Pritchard attributed to a desire to have cap flexibility. Jordan Guskey, Indianapolis Star, "Paul George on Lance Stephenson: 'Wow and I was the bad guy huh?!'," 25 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 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

Comments on desire

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not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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