\ 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 The healthcare workers scheduled to receive the vaccine did not show, and our pharmacist did not wish for the remainder of the vaccine to go to waste. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "DC Department of Health tells pharmacies to give extra vaccines 'to anyone willing to take it'," 4 Jan. 2021 The store did not wish to pursue shoplifting charges against the man, who was issued a trespass warning before being released. cleveland, "Woman reports husband recorded her panic attack, then left her in parking lot: Lyndhurst police blotter," 29 Dec. 2020 Deputy District Attorney Jalyn Wang read a letter from the victim, whom the prosecutor said did not wish to appear at Bucklew’s sentencing hearing. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ex-Coronado high basketball coach sentenced for sexual contact with student," 23 Dec. 2020 Many will defend the baker who does not wish to customize a cake for a gay wedding. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "The Great American Divorce?," 21 Dec. 2020 Speak Up asserts that schools should be open to the extent possible under county health rules and that distance learning needs to be improved for those families who don’t wish to return to campus. Howard Blume Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Unions for teachers, nurses, grocery and hotel workers call for L.A. County shutdown in January," 17 Dec. 2020 Williams says the infrastructure changes should more completely wall off those who do not wish to involve their DNA with crime-solving intrusions from law enforcement. Megan Molteni, Wired, "Cops Are Getting a New Tool For Family-Tree Sleuthing," 16 Dec. 2020 Rabbi Shlomo Litvin, who co-directs Chabad of the Bluegrass and saw the incident, told Chabad.org that the victim is a Jewish veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who did not wish to be identified. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, "Driver yells anti-Semitic slurs, assaults man during Hanukkah celebration in Kentucky," 15 Dec. 2020 Lawmakers also wish to append a coronavirus relief bill to this omnibus measure, and congressional leaders are still negotiating that deal. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Trump approves two-day stopgap funding to avert shutdown as spending talks continue," 19 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Well, fans got their wish, and vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley are in place. Jamal Collier, chicagotribune.com, "2020 flashback: The NBA All-Star Game comes to Chicago as one of the last major sporting events before the COVID-19 pandemic," 31 Dec. 2020 Sergio Alcantara got his wish and achieved his lifelong dream in 2020. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "The 3 tasks Detroit Tigers prospect Sergio Alcantara is learning to try to stick in majors," 27 Dec. 2020 Thanks to Monday’s news, the Spurs, White and his teammates all got their wish. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "Derrick White agrees to extension, signs up for Spurs’ rebuilding effort," 21 Dec. 2020 This college football season has limped to the finish, but the powers that be got their wish. J. Brady Mccollough Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Not holding CFP semifinal at Rose Bowl is the right call," 19 Dec. 2020 McKinley got his wish on Tuesday when the Falcons released him. Tyler Dragon, The Enquirer, "Bengals acquired defensive end Takkarist McKinley off waivers," 11 Nov. 2020 Jones got his wish, although not through any sort of federation or coaching directive. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: U.S. men’s national soccer team gets European infusion — finally," 3 Nov. 2020 The on-duty officer soon got his wish, as multiple videos of the incident were uploaded and have been viewed about 2 million times on social media by Monday morning, sparking backlash from residents and officials. Washington Post, "A New York police officer said, ‘Trump 2020,’ over his patrol car speaker. He’s now been suspended.," 26 Oct. 2020 But Funk, who was one of the most vocal among the Terps about having the conference play, got his wish when the Big Ten reversed course last month. Edward Lee, baltimoresun.com, "Older brother, own determination helped Maryland running back Jake Funk rebound from ACL tear," 23 Oct. 2020

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

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wish. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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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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