1

desire

verb de·sire \ di-ˈzī(-ə)r , dē- \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of desire

desired; desiring
transitive verb
1 : to long or hope for : exhibit or feel desire for
  • desire success
  • knew that men still desired her
2 a : 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.

Examples of desire in a Sentence

  1. He desired her approval more than anything.

  2. The apartment has modern amenities, a great location—everything you could desire.

  3. She knew that men still desired her.

Recent Examples of desire from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of desire

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

desire Synonyms

Synonyms
ache (for), covet, crave, desiderate, die (for), hanker (for or after), hunger (for), itch (for), jones (for) [slang], long (for), lust (for or after), pant (after), pine (for), repine (for), salivate (for), sigh (for), thirst (for), want, wish (for), yearn (for), yen (for), set one's heart on
Related Words
spoil (for); adore, delight (in), dig, enjoy, fancy, groove (on), like, love, relish, revel (in); favor, prefer; admire, appreciate, cherish, prize, treasure, value
Near Antonyms
abhor, abominate, despise, detest, execrate, hate, loathe; decline, refuse, reject, spurn

Synonym Discussion of desire

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

2

desire

noun

Definition of desire

1 : conscious impulse (see 2impulse 3) toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment
  • ridding oneself of all desires
  • how humans process desire
2 a : 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 present
  • U.S. Constitution

Examples of desire in a Sentence

  1. Desire is a common theme is music and literature.

  2. The magazine tries to attend to the needs and desires of its readers.

  3. Both sides feel a real desire for peace.

  4. His decisions are guided by his desire for land.

  5. They expressed a desire to go with us.

  6. They have a desire to have children.

  7. a strong desire to travel around the world

  8. He was overcome with desire for her.

Recent Examples of desire from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of desire



DESIRE Defined for English Language Learners

desire

verb

Definition of desire for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of desire for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

desire

verb de·sire \ di-ˈzīr \

Definition of desire for Students

desired; desiring
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.

Synonym Discussion of desire

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.

2

desire

noun

Definition of desire for Students

1 : a strong wish : longing
  • a desire for companionship
2 : something longed for
  • It was his heart's desire to return home.

Law Dictionary

desire

transitive verb de·sire

legal Definition of desire

desired; desiring
: 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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