\ 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

The men appear in photos online together, and in one video Ortiz offers Fernández birthday wishes. Bob Hohler, BostonGlobe.com, "Long before the shooting, Big Papi had brushes with people who ‘want something from me’," 20 July 2019 Dylan also made sure to thank everyone who has been sending her well wishes and positive thoughts. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "When Is Dylan Dreyer's Due Date? Here's When Her Baby Boy Will Likely Be Born," 18 July 2019 About 15 minutes into it, the flight director gave an advisory that President Nixon wished to speak with the Apollo crew. Jennifer Bogo, Popular Mechanics, "The Oral History of Apollo 11," 18 July 2019 July 15 news story Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca may wish to duck the communist moniker. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Private-public partnership for U.S. 36 was a mistake (7/17/19)," 18 July 2019 Without elaboration, Planned Parenthood announced Wen's departure via a Twitter post, thanking her for her service and wishing her luck going forward. David Crary, Fortune, "Why Dr. Leana Wen Was Forced Out of Planned Parenthood," 17 July 2019 The tanker switched off its transponder in April to load cargo, a common practice for ships that wish to avoid scrutiny while taking on Iranian crude. The Economist, "Oil shortages in Syria are starting to hurt," 11 July 2019 Baby Archie’s grandparents were kept private, as keeping with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wishes. Vogue, "See New, Adorable Portraits of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor’s Christening," 6 July 2019 The two countries enjoy historical links which both sides wish to strengthen further. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Duchess Kate and Prince William's Royal Visit to Pakistan Has Been Confirmed," 30 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Now, granting our wishes, Wood has revealed the step-by-step guide to pull off Turner’s beautiful hair look. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Here's How to Pull Off Sophie Turner’s Wedding-Ready Look — Straight from Her Hairstylist!," 4 July 2019 Fellow celebrities also shared their well wishes in the comments. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Katharine McPhee shares photo kissing David Foster on their Italian honeymoon," 3 July 2019 For better or worse, this is a wish-fulfillment fantasy. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Ari Aster on his new film Midsommar: “I keep telling people I want it to be confusing”," 2 July 2019 What were their fears, their loves, their deepest wishes? Abigail Haworth, Marie Claire, "The Lost Daughters of Salerno," 1 July 2019 While many artists dream of assembling their own lineup, Richards warns it’s tricky to make a wish-list real. Jack Tregoning, Billboard, "Behind the Rise -- And Risks -- Of Artist-Driven Dance Music Festivals," 26 June 2019 According to his wishes there will be no memorial or funeral service. courant.com, "James P. Lehmann," 25 June 2019 Or is addressing the climate crisis merely cover for a wish-list of progressive policies and a not-so-subtle effort to move the Democratic Party to the left? Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "Where Our New World Begins," 10 May 2019 From barely-there lace-up sandals to block heel mules and espadrilles, the brand's foray into footwear is filled with all the sandals on your wish-list this season. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Reformation Just Launched Its First Shoe Collection and We Want Them All," 9 May 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

wise up




wish away


Statistics for wish

Last Updated

23 Jul 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).


something desired as essential

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