\ ˈwish \
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

choose, like, please, want, will

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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

The monarch’s 13-year-old son, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, wrote a card in German, wishing the rescue mission success, according to the Royal Household Bureau. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 His former Real Madrid teammates Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos wished Ronaldo the best of luck in his next chapter. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Cristiano Ronaldo explains his move to Juventus in letter to Real Madrid fans," 10 July 2018 Good workers wish to go where they can be rewarded for their efforts. Michael Hicks, Indianapolis Star, "Hicks: Ruling against public-sector unions makes us freer," 1 July 2018 The calls have not been approved by the office, authorities said, and residents wishing to report such calls may contact the sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division at 847-377-4250. Jim Newton, Lake County News-Sun, "Crackdown on Chain O' Lakes yields impaired boating arrests, citations," 8 July 2018 While decked out in festive outfits, the two wished their mom's Instagram followers a Happy Fourth in a short video. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Hoda Kotb and Jenna Hager Bush Just Posted THE Cutest Videos of Their Daughters," 5 July 2018 Not that anyone would wish an all-out trade war to be the occasion to experiment. The Economist, "Asia is at last waking up to the threat of a trade war," 28 June 2018 At other times, federal officials voiced concern that Trump’s drilling goals were more aggressive than oil industry wishes. Zack Colman, Scientific American, "A Trump Oil Boom Could Transform This Rocky Mountain Landscape," 13 July 2018 Best wishes to Kevyn, Anthony and Kandice in their new roles. Melissa Whatley, baltimoresun.com, "Tristin Forby given Rec Council's cherished Spirit award," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Garza got his wish there because Deer Park rallied from early 4-0 and 5-1 deficits to claim a 7-5 triumph. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Mahoney injury hasn’t detoured Mavs’ bid for playoff berth," 23 Apr. 2018 What Women Want—Pygmalion, basically, but without all the effort—Renee gets her wish. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "When Beauty Is a Troll," 22 Apr. 2018 The latest events are likely to mean Trump won't soon get his wish to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria — an idea even close aides are wary of. Andrew J Barden, Bloomberg.com, "The Mystery Strike on Syria No One Will Claim," 9 Apr. 2018 On Friday, Louisville’s players seemed content their wishes had been answered. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville football players applaud stadium name change," 13 July 2018 The delay in his departure was couched as a wish to wait until the school year ended. Donna St. George, Washington Post, "Maryland schools CEO handed six-figure severance payout," 12 July 2018 Someone had replied to a picture of him flying with Roy Halladay with a wish that the former major league pitcher would rest in peace. Daniel Paulling, New York Times, "After Roy Halladay’s Death, Teenagers Turn Grief Into History," 8 July 2018 President Donald Trump's announcement of a suspension of major annual military exercises with South Korea fulfilled a long-time Chinese wish. Fox News, "Mattis positive on China talks set to discuss North Korea," 28 June 2018 With room for 8 to 10 guests, your every wish is attended to 24 hours a day by dedicated butlers. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "The Best Room At...The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort," 28 June 2018

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

17 Sep 2018

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

: 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

wishes : good thoughts or feelings directed toward a person


\ ˈwish \
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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Comments on wish

What made you want to look up wish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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