\ ˈwȯnt How to pronounce want (audio) also ˈwänt How to pronounce want (audio) and ˈwənt \
wanted; wanting; wants

Definition of want

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to be needy or destitute
2 : to have or feel need never wants for friends
3 : to be necessary or needed
4 : to desire to come, go, or be the cat wants in wants out of the deal

transitive verb

1 : to fail to possess especially in customary or required amount : lack the answer wanted courtesy
2a : to have a strong desire for wanted a chance to rest
b : to have an inclination to : like say what you want, he is efficient
3a : to have need of : require the motor wants a tune-up
b : to suffer from the lack of thousands still want food and shelter
4 : ought used with the infinitive you want to be very careful what you say— Claudia Cassidy
5 : to wish or demand the presence of
6 : to hunt or seek in order to apprehend wanted for murder



Definition of want (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : deficiency, lack suffers from a want of good sense
b : grave and extreme poverty that deprives one of the necessities of life
2 : something wanted : need, desire
3 : personal defect : fault

Choose the Right Synonym for want


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


poverty, indigence, penury, want, destitution mean the state of one with insufficient resources. poverty may cover a range from extreme want of necessities to an absence of material comforts. the extreme poverty of the slum dwellers indigence implies seriously straitened circumstances. the indigence of her years as a graduate student penury suggests a cramping or oppressive lack of money. a catastrophic illness that condemned them to years of penury want and destitution imply extreme poverty that threatens life itself through starvation or exposure. lived in a perpetual state of want the widespread destitution in countries beset by famine

Examples of want in a Sentence

Verb Do you want more coffee? He wants a bicycle for his birthday. I just wanted a chance to rest. She wanted more time to finish the test. Do you want anything from the store? What do you want for Christmas? You can choose whichever color you want. The motor wants a tune-up. Thousands of poor people still want food and shelter. Tell him that the teacher wants him. Noun His attitude shows a want of proper respect. He is suffering from want of adequate sleep. people who are living in want See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Palestinians want the West Bank to form the main part of a future state, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza, all territories seized by Israel in the 1967 war. Joseph Krauss, BostonGlobe.com, 12 May 2022 The Palestinians want the West Bank to form the main part of a future state, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza, all territories seized by Israel in the 1967 war. Joseph Krauss, ajc, 12 May 2022 Make your potential buyers want to walk into your home. Whitney Dutton, Sun Sentinel, 12 May 2022 The school system is setting up online academies for the fall, but officials did not want to force so many students into that option — or prompt families to leave L.A. Unified. Howard Blumestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2022 We're told the AT4X misses out on the ZR2 bumper because GMC believes customers like how the Sierra looks and didn't want to jeopardize that. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 10 May 2022 Schoen said when the Giants received a trade offer acceptable to the team, the other club couldn’t work out a new deal with Bradberry and didn’t want to meet New York’s asking price with the cornerback under contract for only the 2022 season. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 9 May 2022 Marvel and other major franchise films tend to be front-loaded in terms of ticket sales because fans want to be among the first to see the movie — lest spoilers appear online and ruin the fun. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 8 May 2022 What will the next generation of women want out of their clothes? Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, 8 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The lands the Lindskovs want are in Washington County, just west of Toquerville, miles away from their ranch. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 May 2022 The referendum can only be triggered by the British government if opinion polls consistently show that the Northern Irish want reunification. Max Colchester, WSJ, 6 May 2022 The charges were eventually dismissed for want of prosecution. Cameron Knight, The Enquirer, 28 Mar. 2022 Grace: There was so much on the line, and there was just that feeling of pressure and feeling of want and hope. Josh Chesler, SPIN, 5 Mar. 2022 Yet Fritsch saw a need and a want from the community for another option. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 24 Mar. 2022 The debate about freedom regarding mask mandates and vaccines highlights the growing want for parental control amid the dramatic changes that COVID-19 has caused. Hannah Demissie, ABC News, 18 Mar. 2022 Our spy satellites had been counting their missiles but not the potatoes rotting in the field for want of fuel to take them to market, and so the CIA overestimated the true strength of the Soviets. Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2022 True, no one goes to the barricades just for want of a Mercedes-Benz. New York Times, 18 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'want.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of want


13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for want


Middle English, from Old Norse vanta; akin to Old English wan deficient

Learn More About want

Time Traveler for want

Time Traveler

The first known use of want was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near want

Wanstead and Woodford


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Statistics for want

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Want.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/want. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for want


\ ˈwȯnt How to pronounce want (audio) , ˈwänt \
wanted; wanting

Kids Definition of want

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to desire, wish, or long for something I want to go home.
2 : to feel or suffer the need of something … such a ghastly brew as to make me want to swoon.— Avi, Crispin: The Cross of Lead
3 : to be without : lack Luckily, my family does not want much.



Kids Definition of want (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : lack entry 2, shortage His actions show a want of common sense.
2 : the state of being very poor They died in want.
3 : a wish for something : desire

More from Merriam-Webster on want

Nglish: Translation of want for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of want for Arabic Speakers


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