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 There’s a reason uptight parents of the ’80s were less than thrilled at the thought of their preteen daughters being wannabes, as Madonna fans were labeled in the media. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 10 Mar. 2024 By contrast, the Silicon wannabes tend to put all their eggs in one basket, and when that basket’s contents spill out, there’s little to fill it up again. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 29 Feb. 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 30 May. 2024.

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