Definition of desire in English:



  • 1A strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.

    [with infinitive] ‘a desire to work in the dirt with your bare hands’
    • ‘You're a bit of a free spirit, love variety, and have a strong desire to live life to the fullest.’
    • ‘Given the strong desires of those who wish to maintain the status quo, however, the plan faces an uphill battle before being adopted.’
    • ‘The film's devastating ending carries more than a hint of a death wish, a terrible desire to cross that final boundary and become one with the animals he loved more than any human.’
    • ‘When film stars join politics out of strong commitment or a genuine desire to do public good, their credibility is intact.’
    • ‘But when they do this on the eve of elections, it is difficult to believe they are motivated by a genuine desire to serve the public.’
    • ‘Now I find it extremely difficult to express myself before them, tell them my problems, my wishes and my desires.’
    • ‘We have very strong feelings, desires and attachments and expectations.’
    • ‘They don't seem to be listening with regard to the desire of the public to maintain guaranteed benefits.’
    • ‘He also wished to awaken the desire to dance within the audience.’
    • ‘Like many academics in recent years, he was consumed by the desire to become a public intellectual.’
    • ‘Every time something goes wrong within a public service there is a strong desire to find out why, to legislate and prevent the problem arising again.’
    • ‘He raised substantive issues and demonstrated a strong desire to get involved in the public government system.’
    • ‘Imagination, he says, ‘lets us wander through the jungle of our own wishes and desires.’’
    • ‘They enjoy subjects and activities in which they excel, and they take much notice of the desires and wishes of their parents and teachers.’
    • ‘And it is in the recognition of the desires, wishes, and hopes of the majority of those who vote that one can begin to understand the outcome of this election.’
    • ‘This is a complex form of addiction as you will have a strong desire to smoke, even if you wish to stop.’
    • ‘But it also heard of a public desire for resident doctors to be based at the hospital around the clock.’
    • ‘These wishes and desires are even expressed in popular music.’
    • ‘The freedom to share yourself, that is, your passions, your fears, your secret desires, your wishes with others is one of the greatest treasures of mankind.’
    • ‘Is it due to a genuine desire to enter public life and shape policies or for ulterior reasons?’
    wish, want
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    1. 1.1Strong sexual feeling or appetite.
      ‘they were clinging together in fierce mutual desire’
      • ‘When panderers to sexual desire frequent a location, other appetite providers will follow.’
      • ‘Jung preferred a libido where the sheer will to live substituted for sexual desire as the main driving force.’
      • ‘Medicines can also affect sexual drive and desire, or cause problems with ejaculation and orgasm.’
      • ‘It was a bond strong enough to drown any sexual desire between us.’
      • ‘Fortunately, today there are lots of options for keeping a woman's sexual desire strong.’
      • ‘This evening we're talking about female desire and sexual dysfunction.’
      • ‘A strong sexual desire, it was contended, should be recognised as a sign of health and energy, both for the individual and for society.’
      • ‘Mars is our source of aggression and anger, but also our source of sexual passion and desire.’
      • ‘He said that couples should discuss anything that curb's the man's regular sexual activity, which was not caused by a decrease in sexual desire.’
      • ‘From her earliest student shorts, repressed sexual desire has been a consistent undercurrent in the New Zealander's work.’
      • ‘Worldly ambition and sexual desire deflected him from the true path.’
      • ‘However, sexual desire is sexual desire; does it turn off simply because you are in a loving, intimate relationship?’
      • ‘Longing, sexual desire, emotional emptiness and instability run rampant.’
      • ‘It's against the notion that things calm down when we get older, when philosophy is supposed to kick in - that the body, the heart and sexual desire develop and age in the same way.’
      • ‘Such women are mostly presented as sexless in that once their family is complete, they appear to lose all sexual desire and physical charm.’
      • ‘It is said that sexual desire is like an inner fire.’
      • ‘Sexual desire is sexual desire, and under pressure the usual direction of preference may break down.’
      • ‘A typical feeling in such a state is the inability to experience sexual desire, captured in this song as well.’
      • ‘It seems to me extremely likely that he would have some desire, some sexual desire.’
      • ‘They are not given the freedom to express themselves and tap into their embodiment of sexual desire through positive social vehicles like film.’
      lust, lustfulness, sexual appetite, sexual attraction, passion, carnal passion, libido, sensuality, sexuality
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  • 1 Strongly wish for or want (something)

    ‘he never achieved the status he so desired’
    ‘it failed to create the desired effect’
    • ‘Similarly, coaches desire swimmers with strong, consistent work ethics.’
    • ‘As a rule of thumb, buyers tend to desire the cars that were the status symbols of their youth, and desired models vary from country to country.’
    • ‘Those words had their desired effect, and her throat instantly clenched up dryly.’
    • ‘Halogens are still the light of choice where such effects are desired in a gallery area.’
    • ‘And most of the times we don't know what kind of context we are really providing, no matter how strongly we desire it to be something else.’
    • ‘Dates are transposed and video carefully edited to create whatever effect is desired.’
    • ‘But what about times when we can not connect a cause to an effect, other than perhaps that one desired it to be?’
    • ‘Let us say that government desires a strong dollar.’
    • ‘You desire power for power's sake; he merely wishes to see his friends and family live in peace.’
    • ‘The second desired effect of regional policy is to encourage the immigration of more firm investment into a region.’
    • ‘The restrictions contradict the wishes of researchers desiring public availability.’
    • ‘If I wish to be associated with someone who does not desire my company, then necessarily one of us will be disappointed.’
    • ‘I desire her company, and do not wish to have her driven away.’
    • ‘The fortune teller informs her that she desires a large house and has many wishes to fulfill.’
    • ‘For instance, while every firm desires the great returns earned by those who achieve high status, the nature of status hierarchies is such that only a few can reach the top.’
    • ‘His noteworthy conclusion was that it's not the degree to which you consume food, but the degree to which you crave and desire food that controls your weight.’
    • ‘They believe it is all coming to an end, they are almost wishing for it, almost bringing down that reality by desiring it.’
    • ‘Luckily neither of us has issues with desiring the perfect body.’
    • ‘If principles are to have their desired effect, they must culminate in practice.’
    • ‘Crucially there is no evidence to suggest that they desire this power, nor that the public wish them to have it.’
    wish for, want, long for, yearn for, crave, set one's heart on, hanker after, hanker for, pine after, pine for, thirst for, itch for, be desperate for, be bent on, have a need for, covet, aspire to
    required, necessary, proper, right, correct
    wished for, wanted
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    1. 1.1Want (someone) sexually.
      ‘there had been a time, years ago, when he had desired her’
      • ‘How could I get by so thoroughly desiring someone I could never have?’
      • ‘Her dreams had left her desiring him, wanting to know fully what she'd never experienced before.’
      • ‘She enjoys her dream man's taste and she desires him.’
      • ‘No matter how much I desired her, I had to watch Bernard take her as his wife!’
      • ‘Fearful of being shunned by their families, friends, and churches, men who desire other men sexually stay in the closet.’
      • ‘This basically means showing your man you need, admire and desire him.’
      • ‘Here she was sitting in the fading light, next to a man who is clearly desiring her, but all she can think about is… is what?’
      • ‘This is starting to form a divide in our relationship - he still desires me sexually and is understandably hurt when I don't reciprocate.’
      • ‘If such a woman desired her own sex, did she nonetheless marry the other?’
      • ‘I wanted to get as far away from Jason as I could, but I was stuck, and my body desired him.’
      • ‘But girls would always desire him - and just want to mother me.’
      • ‘Her own ego explodes a little when she realises how many men desire her.’
      • ‘He imagined himself on the beach surrounded by beautiful, scantily-clad women, all desiring him, though he didn't touch any single one.’
      • ‘All three stories concern the fantasy of a woman desired by several men.’
      • ‘I can see it so clearly in his eyes just how much he desires me.’
      • ‘We are very vulnerable to anyone who desires us; it's a very powerful thing to be desired by someone, even if we don't think we're interested in that person.’
      • ‘He says he desires me so much, but it doesn't make me feel good.’
      • ‘I am expected to focus on the man, to desire the man and to hope that he desires me.’
      • ‘There was really no point in pretending that she didn't desire him with equal intensity.’
      • ‘But although he desires her passionately, he is also tenderly in love with her - and it is in the blend of hunger and profound romance that the essence of their relationship lies.’
      be attracted to, lust after, burn for, be captivated by, be infatuated by
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    2. 1.2archaic Express a wish to (someone); request or entreat.
      • ‘When he perceived me motionless and bleeding, his fears soon got the better of his intoxication; and with the most violent agitation, desired them to carry me into the parlour, exclaiming repeatedly "Who desired him to open the door?"’
      • ‘I went to Mr. Keys, and desired him to go with me.’
      • ‘I desired her to persevere, and to return in another week.’


Middle English: from Old French desir (noun), desirer (verb), from Latin desiderare (see desiderate).