\ 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

Other Words from wish


wisher noun

Synonyms for wish

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To wish their fans well at the end of 2021, Harry and Meghan released a brand new photo of their growing family, including the first image of baby Lili and an adorable shot of Archie, who is growing up to look just like dad. The Editors, Town & Country, 19 May 2022 At best, public transit helps the poor get around, but were the poor travel is not the same as were the Middle class or Upper class wish to travel. George Davis, Baltimore Sun, 18 May 2022 The businesses and establishments that wish to welcome them are real. Jo Yurcaba, NBC News, 17 May 2022 That said, the voters of the eleventh district should wish Cawthorn well — and send someone better suited to advance conservative ideas and to represent their interests to Washington. The Editors, National Review, 16 May 2022 To pay tribute to her monumental achievements in those 56 years and to simply wish her a happy birthday, Drag Race star Peppermint is delivering the goods in a new video. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 16 May 2022 Minott's freakish athleticism and flashes of versatility will most likely make his wish a reality during the NBA Draft on June 23, but Lee acknowledged that his future isn't as certain. James Boyd, The Indianapolis Star, 13 May 2022 This could characterize China’s infrastructure development model over the next few years as policymakers wish to bring rural areas more into the economic fold and connect them better to large metropolises. Brendan Ahern, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Many even wish the entire problem would just vanish. Brittany Kasko, Fox News, 12 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Their conversation, in a hotel room in Istanbul where the scholar of mythology attends a conference, leads her to make a wish that surprises them both. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 May 2022 Alvaro Saar Rios adapts a book written by Matt de la Peña and Illustrated by Christian Robinson, about a girl doing errands with her brother while trying to settle on a birthday wish. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 17 May 2022 Mylyndie, her paternal aunt, took her in -- a wish of Cornelia JaRose's parents should something ever happen to them. Byesther Castillejo Anderic Noll, ABC News, 12 May 2022 Out came a cake poked with flickering candles for Versace to make a wish on. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 3 May 2022 Josh Harris's estranged brother Shane joins the crew, fulfilling a long-time wish of their father, Phil, who died in 2010. Katie Bowlby, Country Living, 26 Apr. 2022 During that visit, on a scale of 0 to 10, M ranked hopelessness and anxiety at 9, expressing terror at returning to school, a fear of falling behind and a wish to die. New York Times, 23 Apr. 2022 That unity included a wish to take necessary steps to prevent further atrocities. Stewart Room, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 Not surprisingly, fellow-travelers on the left criticized Conquest either from a wish to disbelieve the Soviet horrors or from an ideological sympathy that compelled extenuation of them. Peter J. Travers, National Review, 29 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wish. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for wish


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on wish

Nglish: Translation of wish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wish for Arabic Speakers


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