\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

Godkin's redaction failures in a February 2017 court document also recently revealed that Facebook had once considered charging access to its Graph API—a fact that Facebook had wished to keep secret. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Judge slams bikini-app maker’s lawyers in legal clash with Facebook," 1 Dec. 2018 But despite his anti-immigrant agenda, Congress holds the power to either fall in line with Trump’s wishes—or fight them. Lauren Holter, Marie Claire, "If You Care About Immigration, Here's What You Need To Know About The Midterms," 16 Oct. 2018 Those wishing to send condolences or honor Jeralyn's legacy may do so on the website www.inmemori.com/jboccuzzi-u47cc. courant.com, "Jeralyn Boccuzzi," 13 July 2018 Grande has been finishing up her upcoming studio album Sweetener (due Aug. 17), and fans were quick to hope and wish -- just like a prayer -- that a Madonna collaboration will be on the album. Connor Whittum, Billboard, "Ariana Grande Posts Cryptic Thank You Note to Madonna & Fans Have Theories," 11 July 2018 Die-hard college football fans wish games would last forever—and Arkansas and Ole Miss once played a seven-overtime game that almost did last forever. Andy Staples, SI.com, "‘Strategic Entertainment’ vs. Entertaining Entertainment: The Flip Side of the NFL-CFB Debate," 11 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For investors wishing that the Federal Reserve would respond to the stock market’s recent woes and dial back its rate increase plans, Thursday’s retail sales report is yet another sign that those wishes will likely go unfulfilled. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Hey, Big Spenders: Stock Market Doesn’t Dent Retail Enthusiasm," 15 Nov. 2018 But obviously, our good wishes go out to the folks in the Panhandle. Eric Johnson, Recode, "When big companies are hacked, should they have to disclose it immediately?," 13 Oct. 2018 President Donald Trump was not in attendance at the service, also per McCain's wishes. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Meghan McCain Returned to The View With a Tearful Thank You to Fans," 8 Oct. 2018 The city also promised to fund a $200,000 pilot program for the city's young entrepreneurs, as per the men's wishes. Fox News, "Men arrested at Starbucks settle with city for $1, plus promise of $200G entrepreneurship program for students," 2 Oct. 2018 Thank you for all the positivity and for the beautiful birthday wishes. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé's Birthday Celebrations in Italy Put Our Entire Summer to Shame," 6 Sep. 2018 Per their wishes there will be no calling hours and a private internment. courant.com, "Keith and Audrey Dubay," 12 July 2018 My wish is simply for people to prepare themselves. Holly Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "It’s gonna be a hot Mount Marathon, so racers be warned and spectators stand by — preferably with ice," 3 July 2018 As per his wishes, no service will be held following cremation. Sun-Sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 6/3," 3 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

10 Dec 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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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

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