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 Another student who’s involved with the show, Calvin Zanetti, an 18-year-old senior, plays Alan, a Shakespearian wannabe actor who gets into a lot of trouble. Jennifer Shapiro-sacks, sun-sentinel.com, 14 May 2021 Looking for something special for the wannabe Wookiee in your life or the stormtrooper sympathizer? Chris Morris, Fortune, 4 May 2021 Having saved the members of the GRC from violent revolutionaries, Sam proceeds to give them a wannabe Aaron Sorkin lecture. Christian Holub, EW.com, 23 Apr. 2021 Team riders do not have to ease off to humor a wannabe; Adams has the sort of palmarès—the French word used in cycling for racing victories—to make any pro proud. Carlton Reid, Forbes, 10 Apr. 2021 That particular form-factor choice is a simple way to indicate the wearable isn’t just an Apple Watch wannabe. Chris Smith, BGR, 9 Apr. 2021 Penn State, and DePaul all have seven, Nebraska with a second-year coach like Brannen has six, and blue blood wannabe Indiana has five. Jay Brinker, The Enquirer, 9 Apr. 2021 The film is arch, but no triumph, an airless exercise in mistrusting its audience, and all of it is accompanied by pummeling music that sounds like a Vangelis wannabe recorded during a brownout. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 18 Feb. 2021 At best, Brayan was an 18th Street wannabe, according to court testimony. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, 13 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for wannabe

Time Traveler

The first known use of wannabe was in 1976

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Statistics for wannabe

Last Updated

24 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wannabe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wannabe. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for wannabe



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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