\ 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

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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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Victoria said the family planned to carry out Blackhorse’s wishes for her daughter. Marisa Iati, Washington Post, "She dreamed of leading the Navajo Nation ‘with respect and dignity.’ Then she caught covid-19.," 9 May 2020 Customers who wish to make larger orders can reach out to sani@yellowhammerbrewery.com. Shauna Stuart | Sstuart@al.com, al, "Here’s a list of Alabama breweries and distilleries making hand sanitizer," 8 May 2020 The courses will charge a $10 cart fee for nine holes for those who wish to ride. Jim Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Eight Milwaukee County golf courses will open for play starting Friday," 22 Apr. 2020 Its aim is to educate and empower farmers who wish to add invasive edibles to their harvest lists. Marie Viljoen/saveur, Popular Science, "Ten weeds you can eat," 19 Apr. 2020 Regardless of any improvement in air quality, no one, of course wishes for a pandemic. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "Air pollution down 38% in Indianapolis as Hoosiers stay home to stop spread of coronavirus," 12 Apr. 2020 All this has many of us wishing for the same thing: fresh air and nature. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "Get a Daily Dose of Nature With Online Lessons From Wildlife Experts Around the World," 10 Apr. 2020 Needless to say, thousands of SVU fans reacted to the Instagram post with unbridled enthusiasm, flooding the comments with excited responses over the co-stars' sweet interaction as well as with birthday wishes for Chris. Hannah Jeon, Good Housekeeping, "'Law and Order: SVU' Fans Went Wild After Christopher Meloni Commented on Mariska Hargitay's Instagram," 3 Apr. 2020 Earlham Mayor Jeff Lillie received a call on March 26 asking how a donor -- who wished to remain anonymous -- could help the town’s economy, according to reports. Fox News, "Iowa good Samaritan donates $82,350 in local gift cards to every household in small town," 12 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The review’s parameters aren’t yet settled, but Lagarde and some of her colleagues have already expressed their own wishes. Paul Gordon, Bloomberg.com, "Lagarde Prepares to Modernize ECB With a Plan for the 2020s," 13 May 2020 Republicans say Democrats are using the pandemic to try to advance their political wishes. James Barragán, Dallas News, "Texas Republicans say there’s no need for changes to elections in coronavirus era," 10 Apr. 2020 Many constituents expressed well wishes to Paul in response to Sunday's tweet, but political rivals were quick to call him out. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky's Rand Paul the first known US senator to test positive for coronavirus," 22 Mar. 2020 Funny Birthday Instagram Captions for Yourself Making my birthday wish. Alesandra Dubin, Good Housekeeping, "60 Birthday Instagram Captions to Help You Celebrate Anyone," 20 Mar. 2020 Nesyamun expressed his wish to be heard in the afterlife. Fox News, "Ancient Egyptian mummy's voice replicated by British scientists," 24 Jan. 2020 The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Stepping Down From All Royal Duties," 18 Jan. 2020 So direct managers might consider writing a personal note to each team member recognizing their contributions and expressing good wishes for their family. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, "The best ways to show your employees you appreciate them," 19 Dec. 2019 An investigator with the Okaloosa County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller found Stryker died at a Tampa hospital after staff could not perform life-saving procedures due to a DNR order Fierle filed against his wishes and refused to remove. Monivette Cordeiro, orlandosentinel.com, "Appeals court denies disgraced guardian Rebecca Fierle’s attempt to remove judge," 27 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for wish

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wish

Last Updated

13 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wish. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for wish


How to pronounce wish (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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