Thesaurus

want

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of want

(Entry 1 of 2)

2 to have as a requirement
  • that stray cat wants food and a clean place to sleep

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4 to wish to have
  • I want some ice cream for dessert, please

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want

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of want (Entry 2 of 2)

2 a falling short of an essential or desirable amount or number
  • there's a notable want of teachers in that rural school district

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3 a state of being without something necessary, desirable, or useful
  • those children are in want of some good discipline

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4 the state of lacking sufficient money or material possessions
  • grew up in extreme want

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5 a defect in character
  • she's well-meaning and kind, but her besetting want is a complete lack of tact

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About want

How does the verb want differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of want are covet, crave, desire, and wish. While all these words mean "to have a longing for," want specifically suggests a felt need or lack.

wants to have a family

When is it sensible to use covet instead of want?

While the synonyms covet and want are close in meaning, covet implies strong envious desire.

covets his rise to fame

When is crave a more appropriate choice than want?

In some situations, the words crave and want are roughly equivalent. However, crave stresses the force of physical appetite or emotional need.

craves sweets

When might desire be a better fit than want?

Although the words desire and want have much in common, desire stresses the strength of feeling and often implies strong intention or aim.

desires to start a new life

In what contexts can wish take the place of want?

The words wish and want can be used in similar contexts, but wish sometimes implies a general or transient longing especially for the unattainable.

wishes for permanent world peace

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Learn More About want

Time Traveler for want

Time Traveler

The first known use of want was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Want.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/want. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on want

Dictionary: Definition of want

Nglish: Translation of want for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of want for Arabic Speakers

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