wish·​ful | \ ˈwish-fəl How to pronounce wishful (audio) \

Definition of wishful

1a : expressive of a wish : hopeful looked at the toys with wishful eyes
b : having a wish : desirous
2 : according with wishes rather than reality wishful dreams

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Other Words from wishful

wishfully \ ˈwish-​fə-​lē How to pronounce wishful (audio) \ adverb
wishfulness noun

Examples of wishful in a Sentence

her wishful attempts to change her husband's bad habits
Recent Examples on the Web The playoffs are no longer a wishful dream for Devin Booker. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 22 May 2021 But their assessment of the successes and failures of the last Democratic president has been more wishful than hardheaded, and the lessons the party has learned are correspondingly mistaken. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, 29 Apr. 2021 Designer Babies Genetic engineering has spawned countless wishful worries. John Horgan, Scientific American, 23 Jan. 2021 Second, his emotional fragility, manifested in extreme intolerance of realities that do not fit his wishful view of the world, predispose him to psychotic spirals. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, 11 Jan. 2021 Depending on the moment, her thought processes are brilliantly clear or touchingly wishful. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 30 Dec. 2020 Just a block away, also on Hohman, is where Goldblatt’s Department Store stood until 1993, the site of wishful young Shepherd’s now infamous moment giving his gift wish list to a grumpy Santa while sitting on his lap. Philip Potempa, chicagotribune.com, 3 Dec. 2020 Once dismissed by scholars as wishful speculation, the attribution is now gaining ground. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Nov. 2020 But there's another, more wishful line of thinking. Mark Craig, Star Tribune, 9 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wishful.' 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 wishful

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for wishful

Time Traveler

The first known use of wishful was in 1593

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Statistics for wishful

Last Updated

26 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wishful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wishful. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for wishful



English Language Learners Definition of wishful

: showing a belief that something will happen or succeed even though it is not likely to happen or succeed


wish·​ful | \ ˈwish-fəl How to pronounce wishful (audio) \

Kids Definition of wishful

: having, showing, or based on a wish

More from Merriam-Webster on wishful

Nglish: Translation of wishful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wishful for Arabic Speakers


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