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 wishfully (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

In fact, more wishful trainers dot your journey than in previous games. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Pokemon Let’s Go: Well, I guess my adult ass is going to collect them all," 16 Nov. 2018 Most people don’t expect to win and instead think the $2 ticket is a small price to dream and be part of a wishful conversation with co-workers or family. Scott Mcfetridge, The Seattle Times, "Mega Millions jackpot hits $1.6B, thanks to worsening odds," 22 Oct. 2018 The reform would help to ensure regulation is based on sound scientific analysis instead of wishful bureaucratic thinking. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Cost-Benefit Reform at the EPA," 6 June 2018 The journey from a wishful boy doing his homework at his home in Croatia to Liverpool centre back has not been an easy one. SI.com, "Liverpool Defender Dejan Lovren Reveals Letter He Wrote Himself as a Child Ahead of UCL Final," 23 May 2018 The article is yet another example of the wide gap between wishful rhetoric and technical reality. Ars Technica, "Op-ed: Ray Ozzie’s crypto proposal—a dose of technical reality," 7 May 2018 Every year, before every Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series or Stanley Cup, there's some poor dude who gets a symbol of his team's future championship conspicuously splashed on his body in a moment of wishful and completely sober thinking. Lansing Cai, CNN, "The stories behind the NBA's wildest tattoos," 12 Feb. 2018 On Wednesday, Senate Democrats confirmed that this was all wishful spinning. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Democrats Officially Lost the Shutdown Fight," 25 Jan. 2018 The vigilant, wishful agenda of the Awokening could frustrate artistic ends. Molly Fischer, The Cut, "The Great Awokening," 10 Jan. 2018

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

The first known use of wishful was in 1593

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on wishful

Spanish Central: Translation of wishful

Nglish: Translation of wishful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wishful for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wishful

What made you want to look up wishful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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