wish

1 of 2

verb

wished; wishing; wishes

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
3
a
: 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
wisher noun

wish

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: an act or instance of wishing or desire : want
a wish to travel
b
: an object of desire : goal
2
a
: 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
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

Verb You may use the telephone, if you wish. She wished them a happy New Year. We wish you a Merry Christmas. Noun He has a wish to be reunited with his son. The genie will grant you three wishes. Send her my good wishes. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Don’t wish to write the next great American novel, that’s a nightmare! Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 14 Feb. 2024 These options include fine dining-like ready-to-eat main courses, indulgent desserts and a bottle of wine or prosecco, giving consumers wishing to stay home or being on a budget the opportunity to treat themselves in a convenient, pleasant way. Clara Ludmir, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Earlier this month, Chew received a letter from President Joe Biden wishing her well after a request from Betty Richardson, a Democratic activist and former U.S. attorney. Ian Max Stevenson, Idaho Statesman, 13 Feb. 2024 Some of America’s greatest accomplishments were done by the descendants of poor immigrants wishing to better their lives and the lives of their children. Charlotte Observer, 13 Feb. 2024 Siro also offers six Fitness Suites and six Recovery Suites for those who wish to take their training or relaxation up a level. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 13 Feb. 2024 Powers’ birthday wishes for Wagner come after the Austin Powers actor shared a video of himself giving a toast at his birthday dinner on Instagram Monday. Kirsty Hatcher, Peoplemag, 13 Feb. 2024 Bronze was a lot more animated before the game when Brittany, the co-owner of the Kansas City Current soccer team, took the kids onto the sidelines to wish their dad luck, their pregame tradition. Lisa Gutierrez, Kansas City Star, 12 Feb. 2024 Going to bed on the night of a snowstorm and wishing for a snow day is a rite of passage as a kid. Amy O'Kruk, CNN, 12 Feb. 2024
Noun
The mayor said that Gullo’s relationship with the City Council was not impartial or professional and that Gullo put the wishes of individual council members before the needs of the city. Sherry Greenfield, Baltimore Sun, 15 Feb. 2024 Melody Willis-Williams, president of Vegas Weddings where the couple exchanged vows shared well wishes for the pair in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE. Emily Strohm, Peoplemag, 13 Feb. 2024 Many of the uploads since share best wishes for Janice and her family, while others sing and dance all along to the tune. Kevin Rutherford, Billboard, 8 Feb. 2024 Meadows’s staff knew to accommodate the wishes of his wife, who kept a desk in his Washington office and occasionally sat in on meetings. Robert Draper, New York Times, 8 Feb. 2024 Days before the pair are set to marry, Maddie makes a spontaneous wish for true love, only to wake up as the bride-to-be. Hanna Lustig, Glamour, 6 Feb. 2024 It must be said that Chuck was ill-served by The Times’ former management, which yielded a bitter breakup that may have contributed to his wish, communicated by his family, that no formal obituary appear, including in The Times. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2024 On the latest episode of the New Heights with Travis and Jason Kelce podcast, the Philadelphia Eagles center responded to his wife Kylie Kelce’s comment about bringing one home against his wishes. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 31 Jan. 2024 That’s what a great tree can be: a witness, a wish, a beacon — hope. Ryan Bradley, Los Angeles Times, 29 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of wish was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near wish

Cite this Entry

“Wish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wish. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

wish

1 of 2 verb
1
: to have a desire : long for : want
wish you were here
wish for a puppy
2
: to form or express a desire concerning
wished them a happy New Year
3
: to request by expressing a desire
I wish you to go now
wisher noun

wish

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: an act or instance of wishing or desire
a wish to travel
b
: an object of desire : goal
I got my wish—a good score on the test
2
: a wishing of good fortune
sends her best wishes

More from Merriam-Webster on wish

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