\ 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 However, people with sensitive skin may want to explore other exfoliating options. ELLE, 25 May 2022 Casas, 22, who has been out since May 17, is making progress but the Red Sox do not want to rush him back. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 24 May 2022 Flexibility is also a top priority for most—don’t want to get a shipment each month? Brittany Natale, SELF, 24 May 2022 More people than ever before are aware of the shark conservation crisis and want to help, which is great news. David Shiffman, Scientific American, 24 May 2022 Editors and journalists don’t want to read about you — cut to the chase. Eric Mitchell, Rolling Stone, 23 May 2022 Nevertheless, the revelation demonstrates how a large company with stakes in hundreds of smaller businesses could, while following the rules, reap a benefit that some legislators didn’t want. Yeganeh Torbati And Tony Romm, Anchorage Daily News, 23 May 2022 At one point, the idea was to have Santa Claus be evil, but Gregor and Mand didn’t want to destroy Santa for the children. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 22 May 2022 Nevertheless, the revelation demonstrates how a large company with stakes in hundreds of smaller businesses could, while following the rules, reap a benefit that some legislators didn’t want. Tony Romm, Washington Post, 22 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For the women who wanted to be actresses or singers, those careers weren’t quite as embarrassing — but the stage was not an elegant or appropriate setting for a young lady, especially a young lady who was in want of a husband. Lisa Birnbach, Washington Post, 13 May 2022 Because the talent, the arm strength, the mobility, the running skills, the athleticism, and the want-to is there, guys. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, 30 Apr. 2022 For those in want of an Italian holiday sans aforementioned boot camp, Rome is perfect this time of year. Leena Kim And Hannah Seligson, Town & Country, 17 Mar. 2022 In want of reconnecting with their significant others, the two 20-something college students board a space shuttle to Mars, which — set in this near-future setting — is now colonized by humans. Leah Campano, Seventeen, 10 Mar. 2022 As opposed to the smartphone market of 2006, where Apple managed to waltz in and revolutionize everything, the current automotive landscape isn’t in want of innovation. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 9 Feb. 2022 There wasn’t even enough want-to from the fan base to get the lower bowl filled as the Utes announced an attendance of 7,785. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Jan. 2022 So a lot goes into it not just the want-to or effort because everybody does that on game day. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, 8 Nov. 2021 Work burnout met socialization burnout — leaving some travelers in want of a hard reset. Lydia Mansel, Travel + Leisure, 18 Oct. 2021 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

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Want.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/want. Accessed 28 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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