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 Stir in lemon juice and serve topped with crispy hash browns, bacon, pepper, and scallions if desired. Redbook Test Kitchen, Redbook, "Potato-Leek Soup," 20 Aug. 2018 Transfer to plates and serve with pickles, if desired. Joe Yonan, Washington Post, "Here’s how to turn your grilled cheese sandwich into an umami bomb," 15 Sep. 2019 Tint a brighter green with food coloring if desired. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Crude-Ités with Green Slime Dip," 13 Sep. 2019 The breasts of duck, dove and quail can be safely served at a rosy medium-rare temperature of 125 degrees if desired. Paul Stephen, ExpressNews.com, "Ready, aim, feast: 5 Texas game birds and how to cook them," 11 Sep. 2019 Sprinkle with additional minced fresh thyme, if desired, then serve with the sauce, apples, and onions spooned over the chicken and mashed potatoes on the side. Carrie Knauer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Carrie’s Kitchen: Year of the Apple continues with savory trio of recipes," 9 Sep. 2019 Taste and season with additional lemon juice and/or salt, if desired. Ellie Krieger, The Denver Post, "A quick and flavorful chickpea stew for all your busy nights ahead," 9 Sep. 2019 Taste a small spoonful and add more sugar if desired (see headnote). Maria Zizka, Los Angeles Times, "Five or Fewer: Chill out with these summertime sweets," 30 Aug. 2019 Garnish each center with pine nuts and pomegranate seeds, if desired. Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News, "La Cocina recipe: Reem Assil’s Savory Lamb Turnovers (Sfeeha)," 24 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Always happy with the ball at his feet, Tomori's desire to drive forward actually created Tammy Abraham's first goal as well. SI.com, "90min's Premier League Team of the Week - Matchday 5," 17 Sep. 2019 The dining room feels like a first apartment with hand-me-down furniture and a desire to be taken seriously. Catherine Blinder, courant.com, "Firehouse dinner: Cooking, camaraderie and a shared meal at Hartford’s West End Station," 17 Sep. 2019 That remains far above Mr. Trump’s previously stated desire for zero or negative interest rates. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, "Trump Urges ‘Big’ Rate Cut as Fed Faces Challenges," 16 Sep. 2019 Within social sciences, there’s this view that attitudes and desires are primarily the product of learning or culture. Belinda Luscombe, Time, "Here's What Young People All Over the World Say They Want Most in a Partner," 13 Sep. 2019 The star further explored a hypothetical scenario in which a young customer came to their parents with a desire to wear makeup. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Lady Gaga Says Her Haus Laboratories Makeup Line Is For 'All Gender Identities'," 12 Sep. 2019 Julie Kraft, an assistant prosecutor, suggested that besides wanting to please authorities, Richardson's desire to please her family and boyfriend and fear of them abandoning her could have motivated her to commit extreme acts. Fox News, "Ohio mom, 20, acquitted of killing newborn, convicted of corpse abuse," 12 Sep. 2019 And while some of his pieces were daring by adding a see-through mesh flash, Sukenia’s designs are still applicable for modest desires. Nandi Howard, Essence, "ESSENCE Fashion House: Omar Salaam Sent Daring Looks Down The ESSENCE Runway," 6 Sep. 2019 Those who do cite a variety of reasons — fear of losing their autonomy or dignity, becoming a burden to loved ones, becoming unable to enjoy life — but they are united in a desire to take control of their own ends. Gene Johnson, Twin Cities, "In the face of death, the party of a lifetime," 1 Sep. 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
How to pronounce desire (audio)

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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