want

verb
\ ˈwȯnt also ˈwänt and ˈwənt How to pronounce want (audio) \
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

want

noun

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

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Choose the Right Synonym for want

Verb

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

Noun

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some women will air-dry, others will do a wet set, and still others may want braids or a blowout. Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire, "Hair Rules for Everyone," 7 Feb. 2019 While politicians argue over walls, investors might want to focus on moats. Gerrard Cowan, WSJ, "A ‘Wide Moat’ ETF Is Up More Than 9%," 3 Feb. 2019 Seattle may indeed want to dip into the free agent waters to add a receiver. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks Mailbag: Free agent rumors and rumblings — Could a few former Seahawks find their way back?," 23 Jan. 2019 But what may be most telling about this process is how many don’t want to repeat it. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Amazon HQ2 bids: The weird ways cities wanted to woo Bezos," 27 Dec. 2018 But the arrangement left out emerging-market economies, many of which want a greater say in how these international institutions are run. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, "U.S. Contemplates Appointing First Female President of World Bank," 24 Jan. 2019 Consider an investor who wanted to put some money into the U.S. stock market a couple of years ago. Stan Choe, The Seattle Times, "40 years after his “folly,” Bogle’s index funds reign," 23 Jan. 2019 Yet somehow most of these letters found their way to people who wanted to help. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "This Kid Asked Each Car Company to Send Him A Decal," 23 Jan. 2019 Angarano plays young Nicky, and even a slightly older Nicky, but for his present-day character, legendary actor Griffin Dunne was cast, and fans want to know why. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Fans Were Furious About Older Nicky During Last Night's Episode," 23 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As soon as my son was born, attending to my wants and needs became a very distant memory as the pressure to be a perfect parent mounted. Minhae Shim Roth, Glamour, "My Reward for Having a Baby? A $1,000 Gucci Bag," 7 Jan. 2019 Or scheming: Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook know our wants and desires. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "Think You’re Smarter Than Your Boss?," 14 Oct. 2018 Take your ideas—and inspiration photos from magazines or the internet—to an architect, designer, or general contractor to turn your wants and needs into blueprints. Brett Martin, House Beautiful, "How Long It Takes To Renovate Every Single Room In Your House," 26 Dec. 2018 Danny and Maria work to track down want went wrong—and who's responsible for the tragedy. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Next Week's 'Blue Bloods' Episode Reveals That Frank Reagan Is Battling a Serious Lawsuit," 26 Oct. 2018 Thankfully, the script keeps things firmly rooted in the wants and needs of its two leads. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Ralph Breaks the Internet is The Lego Movie of Disney films," 14 Nov. 2018 But even more than Mr. Golden, the Republicans cater to the wants and whims of Simcha Felder, a nominally Democratic senator from Brooklyn. New York Times, "Senator Does a U-Turn on Speed Cameras in School Zones," 12 July 2018 One important caveat: While Grace and Frankie have their wants, money isn’t one of them. Chris Kornelis, WSJ, "What ‘Grace and Frankie’ Gets Right—and Wrong—About Retirement," 17 Nov. 2018 Determining your personal wants and needs starts with understanding the different types of bedding, though distinguishing one type from the next can be tricky. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "The Ultimate Guide to the Duvet Cover," 11 Oct. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of want

Verb

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

Noun

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

History and Etymology for want

Verb

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

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Learn More about want

Statistics for want

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for want

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

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More Definitions for want

want

verb

English Language Learners Definition of want

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to desire or wish for (something)
: to need (something)
: to be without (something needed)

want

noun

English Language Learners Definition of want (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : the state or condition of not having any or enough of something
: something that is desired or needed
: the state or condition of being poor

want

verb
\ 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
3 : to be without : lack Luckily, my family does not want much.

want

noun

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on want

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with want

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for want

Spanish Central: Translation of want

Nglish: Translation of want for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of want for Arabic Speakers

Comments on want

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