Definition of wistful
- a wistful memoir
- a wistful glance
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
She was wistful for a moment, then asked, “Do you remember the old playground?”.
He had a wistful look on his face.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wistful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Are you yearning to know the history of wistful? If so, we can ease your melancholy a little by telling you that wistful comes from a combination of wishful and wistly, a now obsolete word meaning "intently." We can't say with certainty where wistly came from, but it may have sprung from whistly, an old term meaning "silently" or "quietly." How did the supposed transition from a word meaning "quietly" to one meaning "intently" come about? That's something to muse about, but the answer isn't known.
: having or showing sad thoughts and feelings about something that you want to have or do and especially about something that made you happy in the past
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