\ 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 senator's office says Biden recently rang to wish Casey a happy birthday and talk infrastructure. Maegan Vazquez, CNN, "Pop is calling: Kids and grandkids on the line with President Joe Biden," 24 Apr. 2021 Public health officials will continue to prioritize people in Phase 1 who are not yet registered but wish to be vaccinated, officials said. Washington Post, "D.C., Maryland say they are clearing vaccine waitlists, as outreach efforts expand," 22 Apr. 2021 On April 21, Lopez took to Instagram to wish Rodriguez’s daughter, Ella, a happy 13th birthday. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "Jennifer Lopez Sent Alex Rodriguez’s Daughter a Sweet Message Amid Breakup," 22 Apr. 2021 Building strong relationships with directors is also vital to gaining top-level support for ambitious transformation initiatives that those teams wish to pursue. Forbes Virtual Cio Summit, Forbes, "WATCH," 21 Apr. 2021 One of the things he is known for is organizing an annual vigil to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre — an event that the authorities wish to airbrush out. The Editors, National Review, "On Hong Kong, Stay Strong," 20 Apr. 2021 The smart thing here — not necessarily the right, tidy thing — would have been to wish the Canucks good health and full recovery prior to the start of September training camp. BostonGlobe.com, "Taking stock of the Bruins after the trade deadline," 17 Apr. 2021 Gartner’s recent survey finds that about 70% of employees wish to continue some form of remote work. Bill George, Fortune, "The pros and cons of working remotely," 17 Apr. 2021 And while some characters seek to chart aspects of nature and others wish to pay loving tribute (and offer sacrifices) to it, the most resonant notion from Earth‘s characters is that nature is a living, breathing, and undeniably aggressive entity. David Fear, Rolling Stone, "‘In the Earth’: Ben Wheatley’s Pandemic-Psychedelic Horrorshow," 16 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The mother is killed in a shootout and asks Jim to deliver the boy to relatives in Chicago as her dying wish. cleveland, "‘The Marksman,’ the shot-in-Cleveland movie starring Liam Neeson, was a dream come true for Cleveland native screenwriter," 27 Apr. 2021 His wish granted, Brown (6-8, 345) lands with another high-octane offense but will now be showcased as the bodyguard for QB Patrick Mahomes, arguably the league's premier player. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Orlando Brown Jr. trade winners, losers: Who made out best in Ravens-Chiefs swap?," 25 Apr. 2021 That said, the problem starts long before your wish-cycling. Arden Fanning Andrews, Vogue, "2021’s Best New Sustainable Beauty Products Have Circularity in Mind," 22 Apr. 2021 More may be coming if President Biden gets his wish and the American Jobs Plan passes Congress. Rhett Buttle, Forbes, "Meet The Woman Fighting For All Of America’s Main Streets -- SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman Seeks To Not Only Recover, But Build Back Better," 20 Apr. 2021 One man poignantly described his wish to fund a college education for his granddaughter. Sarah Smarsh, The Atlantic, "The Human Side of Fracking," 16 Apr. 2021 In wish trees, which are popular in temples around East Asia, there is a picture of such interconnectedness. Washington Post, "Yoko Ono’s ‘Wish Tree’ at the Hirshhorn is branching out. This year, your wishes can be virtual.," 15 Apr. 2021 With the help of Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach and cooperation from neighboring track and field clubs, Ballard’s wish became a reality. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Pompano Xpress Track and Field club returns to competition," 8 Apr. 2021 This is my birthday wish and may your birthday wishes also come true. Stephanie Toone, ajc, "Dolly Parton shares her birthday wish of a ‘call for kindness’ on her 75th," 19 Jan. 2021

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

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wish. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wish

Nglish: Translation of wish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wish for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wish

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