wan·​na·​be | \ ˈwä-nə-ˌbē How to pronounce wannabe (audio) \
variants: or less commonly wannabee

Definition of wannabe

1 : a person who wants or aspires to be someone or something else or who tries to look or act like someone else
2 : 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

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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

For the speedsters or wannabe speedsters in the group, ZAP vacations are designed to provide campers with a challenging experience. Amanda Loudin, NBC News, "Summer camps for adults who like to run," 5 June 2019 But this isn’t an Alfa knockoff or a Mercedes wannabe—the G70 is its own car, a sport sedan out to prove that Korea can compete on style and feel and performance rather than just price. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The 2019 Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Awards," 16 Apr. 2019 The introduction of Pike, the focus on character relationships, expanding the cast to also include the rest of the bridge crew, and all around better pace and plotting has helped lift Discovery from a Star Trek wannabe to something wholly its own. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Gets Back to Basics," 25 Jan. 2019 There’s little difference between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s progressive cri de coeur and the campaign platforms of Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic presidential wannabes. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "Democrats Contend With the ‘Anger Translator’," 8 Jan. 2019 For men who transformed modern policing, neither Wilson nor Mr. Kelling came to the issue as a wannabe cop. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "The Idea That Made America’s Cities Safer," 29 Dec. 2018 Not faux drums played by Fluff the Marshmallow wannabe. Megan Stein, Country Living, "'The Voice' Fans Were So Confused by Bastille and Marshmello's Finale Performance," 19 Dec. 2018 The authenticity of beauty influencers has been coming under question for the past year or so, with a steady stream of scandals and an increasingly unwieldy number of influencer wannabes trying to make a career of it. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "The shady world of beauty influencers and the brands that pay them, explained," 31 Aug. 2018 Harry Styles fans weaponized Tumblr accounts and VPNs to promote his first solo single and album in 2017, but BTS fans took the blueprint further, creating tests for wannabe helpers to verify their devotion. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Stop calling Facebook’s effort to fix itself an “arms race”," 14 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wannabe.' 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 wannabe

1976, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wannabe

from the phrase want to be

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Dictionary Entries near wannabe





Wanstead and Woodford


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Statistics for wannabe

Last Updated

29 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for wannabe

The first known use of wannabe was in 1976

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English Language Learners Definition of wannabe

informal : a person who tries to look or act like someone else (such as a famous person) : a person who wants to be a particular person or type of person

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More from Merriam-Webster on wannabe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wannabe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wannabe

Spanish Central: Translation of wannabe

Nglish: Translation of wannabe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wannabe for Arabic Speakers

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characterized by aphorism

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