Wistful meaning

wĭstfəl
Expressing sadness or yearning.
adjective
12
2
Full of yearning or longing.

His eyes grew wistful as he recalled his university days.

adjective
5
1
The definition of wistful refers to being full of melancholy or yearning, or having a mournful or regretful longing.

An example of wistful is when you look back on your past and wish you had done something differently.

adjective
4
2
Full of melancholy longing or wishful yearning.
adjective
4
2
Showing or expressing vague yearnings; longing pensively.
adjective
3
2
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adjective
0
2

Origin of wistful

  • Alteration (influenced by wishful) of obsolete wistly intently perhaps from variant of whistly, whishtly silently from whist silent from whist hush! (interjection calling for silence) from Middle English of imitative origin

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Presumably from *whistful, from whist (“silent") + -ful, based on older wistly. It is implausible that it derives from wishful, the required sound change being wishful → *wisful → wistful, and could not occur in Modern English, particularly not with wishful continuing in use. However, the sense of “longing" appears to be influenced by wishful, with wistful being an ambiguous poetic word.

    From Wiktionary