\ 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

Easter hugs coming your way wishing you a really nice day! Mackenzie Dunn, Woman's Day, "36 Easter Instagram Captions For All Your Adorable Photos," 11 Feb. 2019 Members of the royal family are known to send their thanks to royal watchers who've sent them letters, either congratulating them for a recent birthday or milestone, or simply wishing them happy holidays. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "See Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William, and Kate Middleton's Holiday Thank You Cards," 19 Jan. 2019 And, in a world in which nationalism is proliferating, many readers might wish the author had drawn more general lessons from his account of these two experiences. The Economist, "The siren call of separatism," 12 July 2018 After the recent polar vortex, most of us are wishing for an early spring. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Bundled Up 7-Month-Old Crew in This Top-Rated Baby Snowsuit You Can Buy," 5 Feb. 2019 After the Jurassic Park star posted a photo with his new fiancée (and her gorgeous ring) on Instagram, Faris commented to share her well wishes for the couple. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Anna Faris Responds to Chris Pratt's Engagement in the Best Way Possible," 14 Jan. 2019 And yet, while there’s nothing quotidian about the food, the room is what every creative wishes their common living space could look like—a state-of-the-art industrial kitchen carved out of the original raw historic warehouse space. Pilar Guzmán, Condé Nast Traveler, "South Africa’s Other Big Five," 20 Dec. 2018 What has mattered in the proliferation of a test round of new laws that make voting more difficult is that Congress currently does not wish to do so. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "This Democrat thinks voting rights should be one of the House’s first big priorities in January," 11 Dec. 2018 Once at the park, those who wish to visit the museum can take a dive boat a little under a mile off the coast to begin their dive to the artwork. Kayla Fitzgerald, sacbee, "Take a deep dive into this Underwater Art Museum that opened this summer," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The b-hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer by Orbit is the answer to all of your spring yard-work wishes. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Orbit's Smart Hose Timer Lets You Water Your Lawn From Anywhere in the World," 21 Feb. 2019 Though many in the royal family have released statements expressing their congratulations and well-wishes, British tabloids have accused Harry and Meghan of upstaging Princess Eugenie’s wedding. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "Confirming speculation at Friday’s royal wedding, Kensington Palace announced the news Monday.," 15 Oct. 2018 This structure allows the voices of those Smith wishes to honor, and sometimes challenge, to speak for themselves. Adrianna Smith, The Atlantic, "What Tracy K. Smith Sees in America," 9 June 2018 This year and last, Shiffrin surprised Bettoni with birthday wishes in the form of video messages. Eric Willemsen, The Seattle Times, "‘Like an angel’: Shiffrin inspired by cancer survivor," 4 Feb. 2019 The actress showered her ex and his new fiancée with well wishes on her podcast. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chris Pratt Told Anna Faris About His Engagement in a Super Casual Way," 16 Jan. 2019 Getty Images Grab your butterfly hair clips, tie dye tee, and tiny tinted sunglasses, because all of your early 2000s, Disney Channel wishes are finally coming true. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Hilary Duff Seemingly Confirms that a 'Lizzie McGuire' Reboot Is Really Happening," 31 Dec. 2018 Other digital well-wishes came from Kensington Palace, the home of Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle, and Charles's brother, the Duke of York. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Royal Family Wished Prince Charles a Happy 70th Birthday with a Special Video," 14 Nov. 2018 The joke here has a point of view — about Cain-N’Degeocello’s wish to be as open and tolerant as possible and his anxieties about how to possibly do that. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America has nothing to say in the end," 24 Aug. 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

19 Mar 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

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


to boil down or concentrate

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