\ ˈwish How to pronounce wish (audio) \
wished; wishing; wishes

Definition of wish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to have a desire for (something, such as something unattainable) wished he could live his life over
2 : to give expression to as a wish : bid wish them good night
3a : to give form to (a wish)
b : to express a wish for
c : to request in the form of a wish : order
d : to desire (a person or thing) to be as specified cannot wish our problems away
4 : to confer (something unwanted) on someone : foist

intransitive verb

1 : to have a desire : want wishing for more
2 : to make a wish wish on a falling star



Definition of wish (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an act or instance of wishing or desire : want a wish to travel
b : an object of desire : goal
2a : an expressed will or desire : mandate
b : a request or command couched as a wish
3 : an invocation of good or evil fortune on someone

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Other Words from wish


wisher noun

Synonyms for wish

Synonyms: Verb

fob off, foist, palm, palm off, pass off

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Choose the Right Synonym for wish


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

Examples of wish in a Sentence


You may use the telephone, if you wish. She wished them a happy New Year. We wish you a Merry Christmas.


He has a wish to be reunited with his son. The genie will grant you three wishes. Send her my good wishes.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And wishing a very special first Father’s Day to The Duke of Sussex! Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Why the Queen Will Not Attend Archie Harrison's Christening This Weekend," 5 July 2019 Persons wishing to donate by mail may send a check payable to Ramona Rotary Club 4th of July to Ramona Rotary Club, July 4th Fireworks Fund, P.O. Box 276, Ramona, CA 92065. Ramona Sentinel, "Rotary shifts fireworks campaign into high gear," 27 June 2019 With the season over, Curry, against his mother’s wishes, opted to skip his senior season and declared for the draft. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Drafting Stephen Curry," 25 June 2019 That aside, one wishes that Hersh had spent more time adding texture, nuance, and humility to Reporter. Scott Sherman, The New York Review of Books, "A Muckraker’s Progress," 17 June 2019 Lizzy Nemeth, executive director of the Guadalupe Community Center, said people who wish to donate fans may drop them off at the center at 1801 W. César E. Chávez, a fire station or Catholic Charities at 202 W. French Place. Jacob Beltran, ExpressNews.com, "City, organizations help residents cope with rising heat," 20 June 2019 The 31-year-old Victoria’s Secret Angel expressed her admiration and gratitude for her Maroon 5 frontman husband on Sunday, wishing him a happy Father’s Day alongside a rare photo of the couple with their daughters. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Behati Prinsloo Wishes Adam Levine a Happy Father's Day with Rare Photo of Their Daughters," 17 June 2019 Final arrangements were private in keeping with Emily and Allen’s wishes. Orlando Sentinel, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Deaths in Central Florida: 6/16," 16 June 2019 And that, far from freeing us, will only help those who wish to set our divisions in stone. Sahil Handa, National Review, "Why I’m No Longer Talking to Anyone about Anything," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Now, granting our wishes, Wood has revealed the step-by-step guide to pull off Turner’s beautiful hair look. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Here's How to Pull Off Sophie Turner’s Wedding-Ready Look — Straight from Her Hairstylist!," 4 July 2019 Fellow celebrities also shared their well wishes in the comments. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Katharine McPhee shares photo kissing David Foster on their Italian honeymoon," 3 July 2019 For better or worse, this is a wish-fulfillment fantasy. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Ari Aster on his new film Midsommar: “I keep telling people I want it to be confusing”," 2 July 2019 What were their fears, their loves, their deepest wishes? Abigail Haworth, Marie Claire, "The Lost Daughters of Salerno," 1 July 2019 While many artists dream of assembling their own lineup, Richards warns it’s tricky to make a wish-list real. Jack Tregoning, Billboard, "Behind the Rise -- And Risks -- Of Artist-Driven Dance Music Festivals," 26 June 2019 According to his wishes there will be no memorial or funeral service. courant.com, "James P. Lehmann," 25 June 2019 Or is addressing the climate crisis merely cover for a wish-list of progressive policies and a not-so-subtle effort to move the Democratic Party to the left? Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "Where Our New World Begins," 10 May 2019 From barely-there lace-up sandals to block heel mules and espadrilles, the brand's foray into footwear is filled with all the sandals on your wish-list this season. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Reformation Just Launched Its First Shoe Collection and We Want Them All," 9 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wish.' 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 wish


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for wish


Middle English wisshen, from Old English wȳscan; akin to Old High German wunsken to wish, Sanskrit vāñchati he wishes, vanoti he strives for — more at win

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Learn More about wish

Dictionary Entries near wish

wise to

wise up




wish away


Statistics for wish

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wish

The first known use of wish was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for wish



English Language Learners Definition of wish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to want (something) to be true or to happen
formal : to want or ask to do (something)
: to want (someone) to be in a particular state



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

: a desire for something to happen or be done : a feeling of wanting to do or have something
: an act of thinking about something that you want and hoping that you will get it or that it will happen in some magical way
: good thoughts or feelings directed toward a person


\ ˈwish How to pronounce wish (audio) \
wished; wishing

Kids Definition of wish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to have a desire for : want I wish you were here.
2 : to form or express a desire concerning He wished them both good luck.
3 : to request by expressing a desire I wish you to go now.



Kids Definition of wish (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of having or expressing a desire usually in the mind Close your eyes and make a wish.
2 : something wanted I got my wish.
3 : a desire for happiness or luck Send them my best wishes.

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More from Merriam-Webster on wish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wish

Spanish Central: Translation of wish

Nglish: Translation of wish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wish for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wish

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food or victuals

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