\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

In a tweet sent from her private account, Samantha went after Prince Harry, calling him out for not wishing Meghan's estranged father, Thomas Markle, a happy birthday in July. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Estranged Sister Posted a Savage Birthday Message to Prince Harry," 16 Sep. 2018 Let the ruins, perched high above Madrid, serve as a warning to a nation riven by enmity and to any citizen who might wish for a dictator like Franco, a murderous strongman who would try to wring immortality from a shrine full of the dead. Matías Costa, Smithsonian, "The Battle Over the Memory of the Spanish Civil War," 28 June 2018 Yet when news of the hacking broke, nobody raised the faintest suspicions that Russia wished to alter the outcome of the election, let alone that Trump or anybody connected with him might have been in cahoots with a foreign power. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?," 8 July 2018 Teigen has a long history of trolling the president to her 10.6 million followers, and has even wished him a happy birthday in the past. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Chrissy Teigen and John Legend Got Trump a Super Generous Birthday Gift," 14 June 2018 Anyone who wishes to include a military person, veteran or first responder in the tribute should contact Katie Casey at 815-485-3584 or kcasey@newlenoxparks.org. Ginger Brashinger, Daily Southtown, "Proud American Days to close out July with food, fun and entertainment," 11 July 2018 The Decatur Township Fire Department's large steel box will be installed alongside the building, giving easy access to a mother who might not wish to be seen using it. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Baby is abandoned at fire department, which is what the firefighters want," 2 July 2018 Even rivals wouldn’t wish that fate on a World Cup player. Jonathan Tannenwald, Philly.com, "World Cup game times: Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal play Morocco, followed by Uruguay-Saudi Arabia, Iran-Spain," 19 June 2018 Want to wish the champ a successful surgery tomorrow. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "After an earlier life-saving operation, Ric Flair undergoes another surgery," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But to many, the highlight of the show was when Michael Ketterer got his wish: To sing a song Garth Brooks wrote for him. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'America's Got Talent' Fans Lose It After Michael Ketterer and Garth Brooks Collaborate for the Finale," 20 Sep. 2018 Now Musk is getting his wish: Unsworth has sued Musk for defamation in Los Angeles court. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "British cave explorer sues Elon Musk for defamation over “pedo guy” tweets," 17 Sep. 2018 Amma finally gets her wish to party with Camille, passing her first an Oxy and later a tablet of ecstasy, mouth to mouth, creating a fuzzy warm glow of sisterly intimacy. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sharp Objects Episode 6: Camille Is in Deep Trouble," 13 Aug. 2018 In 2000, Kavanaugh represented pro bono the Miami relatives of 6-year-old Elian, who wanted to keep the child in Miami despite his father's wishes to have custody of him in Cuba. Monique O. Madan, miamiherald, "New Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh has ties to big Florida moments," 9 July 2018 Over the last decade, advocates for repatriation have increasingly put pressure on the Hunterian to observe to Byrne’s final wishes and release his bones for burial. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Why the Skeleton of the “Irish Giant” Could Be Buried at Sea," 26 June 2018 Sorbero said Friends also tries to fulfill special wishes. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "Sunny Hill supporters raise funds to provide bus, activities for residents," 30 May 2018 Citing three sources familiar with the conversations between U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan and President Trump, the Post also reported that Brennan has not acceded to the president's wishes for several reasons. CBS News, "Trump has pushed postmaster general to double Amazon's shipping rates, report says," 18 May 2018 Trump tweeted a short video that included well wishes from him and first lady Melania Trump. Darlene Superville, chicagotribune.com, "Trump hails 'American heroes' who helped U.S. win independence," 4 July 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

12 Nov 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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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