wan·​na·​be ˈwä-nə-ˌbē How to pronounce wannabe (audio)
variants or less commonly wannabee
: a person who wants or aspires to be someone or something else or who tries to look or act like someone else
: something (such as a company, city, or product) intended to rival another of its kind that has been successful
especially : one for which hopes have failed or are likely to fail

Examples of wannabe in a Sentence

an entrepreneur who seems to have made his fortune mainly by giving how-to-get-rich lectures to entrepreneurial wannabes
Recent Examples on the Web Here, West challenges his fans to consider the death of women’s dreams from a different angle — as the inevitable peril of being at the top comes down hard on horror’s favorite wannabe A-lister. Alison Foreman, IndieWire, 26 June 2024 Khan plays both a wannabe and, eventually, a superstar. Mallika Rao, Vulture, 8 Mar. 2024 One world leader wannabe who has not offered his concern or condolences is Donald J. Trump. Voice Of The People, New York Daily News, 18 Feb. 2024 There’s no question that artificial intelligence represents exciting prospects, nor that Nvidia, at the moment, is the alpha dog in a hungry pack of AI wannabes. Neal B. Freeman, National Review, 10 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for wannabe 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wannabe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from the phrase want to be

First Known Use

1976, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of wannabe was in 1976

Dictionary Entries Near wannabe

Cite this Entry

“Wannabe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wannabe. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

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