wish

1 of 2

verb

wished; wishing; wishes

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
3
a
: 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
wisher noun

wish

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: an act or instance of wishing or desire : want
a wish to travel
b
: an object of desire : goal
2
a
: 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
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

Verb You may use the telephone, if you wish. She wished them a happy New Year. We wish you a Merry Christmas. Noun He has a wish to be reunited with his son. The genie will grant you three wishes. Send her my good wishes.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Legacy members include environmentalists, a software engineering mogul and activists who are, according to two sources, connected to Redford (or wish to huddle round his cool flame). Matt Donnelly, Variety, 1 Apr. 2024 Michigan will lift its ban on compensated surrogacy agreements, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bills Monday expanding options for those in Michigan who wish to have children but cannot do so through traditional means. Arpan Lobo, Detroit Free Press, 1 Apr. 2024 But a regular haunt in which to wish for a million dollars isn’t just the stuff of TV sitcoms. Patrick T. Brown, National Review, 31 Mar. 2024 Donegan said the Fund had received calls and emails from employers wishing to match donations by their employees, retail establishments who plan to put a QR code for the donation site at their registers, and churches and small businesses that plan to share the donation link via newsletters. Emily Davies, Washington Post, 30 Mar. 2024 At the dinner table, dad wishes her mother a happy 49th wedding anniversary; the words take a minute to register for her mom, Shirley, whose dementia is becoming worse. Ryan Lillis, Sacramento Bee, 29 Mar. 2024 And there still seems to be a part him that wishes that perhaps the call to NASCAR that no one picked up all those years ago would finally get answered. Greg Engle, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 McGraw wishes aid for the Chiefs and Royals would be weighed separately, given the Royals’ middling on-field performance. Jonathan Shorman, Kansas City Star, 29 Mar. 2024 VanDerveer, before the tournament began, sent a group text to Pac-12 coaches wishing them good luck with teams heading in different directions in 2024-25. Jerry McDonald, The Mercury News, 28 Mar. 2024
Noun
Several of Grijalva's colleagues in D.C. and in his district expressed well wishes for the congressman. Laura Gersony, The Arizona Republic, 2 Apr. 2024 And so, her wish became reality when the exhibition Manish Arora: Life Is Beautiful opened at SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta this week. Kristen Bateman, Vogue, 30 Mar. 2024 According to a casting call shared by CAPE, Curtis will be getting her wish about grandchildren. Glamour, 30 Mar. 2024 The revelation quelled months of wild conjecture relating to the senior royal and drew well wishes from around the globe, as well as countless regrets from those who had misread the situation. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, 25 Mar. 2024 Finally, my wish for this year is that Rolex, following the discontinuation of the current version, releases a new Milgauss inspired by the original reference 6541! Victoria Gomelsky, Robb Report, 25 Mar. 2024 Doherty's Friday post comes amid an outpouring of support for the Princess of Wales, as senior royals, members of her family and high-profile figures shared their well wishes. Escher Walcott, Peoplemag, 23 Mar. 2024 Ribbons hang from a security fence filled with prayers and wishes for family members trapped to the north. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Mar. 2024 Ringo would glare disapprovingly, but this was one circumstance in which his wishes did not prevail. David Frum, The Atlantic, 21 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near wish

Cite this Entry

“Wish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wish. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

wish

1 of 2 verb
1
: to have a desire : long for : want
wish you were here
wish for a puppy
2
: to form or express a desire concerning
wished them a happy New Year
3
: to request by expressing a desire
I wish you to go now
wisher noun

wish

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: an act or instance of wishing or desire
a wish to travel
b
: an object of desire : goal
I got my wish—a good score on the test
2
: a wishing of good fortune
sends her best wishes

More from Merriam-Webster on wish

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