\ 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

Those who wish to cry into their cappuccino now may be excused. Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, "In San Francisco’s North Beach, pasta, poetry and a big helping of uncertainty," 14 Sep. 2019 Anyone who wishes to request a mosquito inspection or report a breeding ground in Miami-Dade can call 3-1-1. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, "More mosquito-borne dengue fever cases reported in South Florida," 13 Sep. 2019 Local officials say they are pressed to maintain secrecy to lure powerful tech companies, who wish to avoid controversies and keep details about their operations under wraps. Elizabeth Dwoskin, chicagotribune.com, "Google reaped millions of tax breaks as it secretly expanded its real estate footprint across the US," 13 Sep. 2019 Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous can call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO for Spanish. Alexa Fuenmayor, azcentral, "Woman seriously injured after hit-and-run in south Phoenix," 12 Sep. 2019 Those who wish to make memorial contributions may do so to American Heart Association, 5 Brookside Dr., Wallingford, CT 06492. courant.com, "Alan B. Brown," 11 Sep. 2019 Admission to the ceremony is free during the event and open to all who wish to honor the heroes of that day. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Desmond to speak at Fallbrook 9/11 ceremony," 11 Sep. 2019 Kiosks will also be available for customers who wish to lock in a quick bet. Luke Feliciano, Cincinnati.com, "Take a gamble: Hollywood Casino helps usher in a new era for Indiana sports betting," 7 Sep. 2019 On the return trip, Bahamians who wish to evacuate the islands for the U.S. may board. Chabeli Herrera, orlandosentinel.com, "A cruise ship will bring Hurricane Dorian evacuees from the Bahamas back to the U.S.," 5 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Armfield had no wish to continue without his longtime partner. Hannah Natanson, Anchorage Daily News, "They were once America’s cruelest, richest slave traders. Why does no one know their names?," 17 Sep. 2019 Trump’s wish to have the G7 at Doral was first reported in June by the Washington Post. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "Trump’s bid to bring G7 to his Doral resort would be illegal if he was anyone else," 11 Sep. 2019 More often than not, your friends and family will happily comply with your wishes. Stacey Steinberg, Washington Post, "The online privacy checklist your kids need you to have," 9 Sep. 2019 Per her wishes, cremation rites have been accorded and there will be no service at this time. courant.com, "Shirley Jean Wagner," 8 Sep. 2019 Or is the end game improving his negotiating position against the EU, and the thought that Parliament would undermine that by going against his wishes? Nr Staff, National Review, "Episode 162: Gaffe-Prone, but Going Strong," 30 Aug. 2019 In the summer of 2012, the Magic traded Howard to the Lakers against his wishes. Los Angeles Times, "The Sports Report: Hey, that guy in the Lakers uniform looks familiar," 24 Aug. 2019 One of her last wishes was that Louisa raise her namesake, thrusting her sister into unexpected motherhood at age 48. Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian, "The New ‘Little Women’ May Finally Do Justice to Its Most Controversial Character," 14 Aug. 2019 In accordance with her wishes there will be no funeral or memorial services. sun-sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 7/28," 28 July 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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Learn More about wish

Dictionary Entries near wish


wise to




wish away


Statistics for wish

Last Updated

1 Oct 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).


fear of the number 13

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