- A desire, longing, or strong inclination for a specific thing.
- An expression of a desire, longing, or strong inclination; a petition.
- Something desired or longed for.
, wish·es verb, transitive
- To long for; want. See Synonyms at desire.
- To entertain or express wishes for; bid: He wished her good night.
- To call or invoke upon: I wish them luck.
- To order or entreat: I wish you to go.
- To impose or force; foist: They wished a hard job on her.
- To have or feel a desire: wish for the moon.
- To express a wish.
Origin: Middle English wissh
Origin: , from wisshen, to wish
Origin: , from Old English wȳscan; see wen-1 in Indo-European roots
Related Forms:Usage Note: Wish
is widely used as a polite substitute for want
with infinitives: Do you wish to sit at a table on the terrace? Anyone who wishes to may leave now.
This usage is appropriate for formal style, where it is natural to treat the desires of others with exaggerated deference. The corresponding use of wish
with a noun-phrase object is less frequent: Anyone who wishes an aisle seat should see an attendant.
Both usages are likely to sound stilted in informal style, however, and want
may be substituted for wish.
• A traditional rule requires the use of were
rather than was
in a contrary-to-fact statement that follows wish: I wish I were (not was) lighter on my feet.
While many people continue to insist on upholding this rule, the indicative was
in such clauses can be found in the works of many well-known writers. See Usage Notes at if