\ 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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The chief did not want to hire him in the first place. Peter Cameron, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8 Sep. 2021 Parents don’t want to kill their children, but stressors pile up — such as money trouble, drug abuse, mental illness — until mom or dad breaks. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, 8 Sep. 2021 Importantly, the union doesn't want to be left out of negotiations on the cars of the future. Ella Nilsen, CNN, 8 Sep. 2021 The Pac-12 did not want BYU for reasons that had nothing to do with sports. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Sep. 2021 Despite being in a vulnerable age group, 71-year-old retiree Zhelyazko Marinov doesn't want to get vaccinated. Stephen Mcgrath, ajc, 8 Sep. 2021 Many young adults and teens are feeling FOMO and want to get into the crypto craze because gaining any kind of extra money for millennials also gains better peace of mind. Keira Wingate, USA TODAY, 8 Sep. 2021 However, this doesn’t mean the former Falcons coach doesn’t want to get a win. Calvin Watkins, Dallas News, 8 Sep. 2021 At least two board members don’t want to go after the money. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The annual sale starts on September 3, so start prepping your want list now. Talia Abba, Glamour, 6 Sep. 2021 But there’s also a canny awareness that to make Clara more like everyone else would be to interfere with her marketability — for want of a better word — as a mystic. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 29 Aug. 2021 For months, the Palestinian Authority struggled to inoculate many residents of the West Bank for want of vaccine supplies. New York Times, 24 Aug. 2021 Patients died for want of oxygen, and corpses were cremated in parks and parking lots as crematoriums ran out of space. Washington Post, 2 Aug. 2021 The State Department believes about 350 more want out. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 29 Aug. 2021 The annual sale starts on September 3, so start prepping your want list now. Talia Abbas, Glamour, 28 Aug. 2021 Lawrence’s life has never been in want of treatment. BostonGlobe.com, 12 Aug. 2021 There’s certainly a lot of logged reps, a lot of football experience, a good football IQ and a want-to. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 6 Aug. 2021

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


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

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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


want ad

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Statistics for want

Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Want.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/want. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for want



English Language Learners Definition of want

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



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

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


\ 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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