Definition of wannabe in English:



derogatory, informal
  • A person who tries to be like someone else or to fit in with a particular group of people.

    ‘a star-struck wannabe’
    • ‘Musical wannabes turned out in force to listen to fledgling bands, play instruments and enrol for lessons.’
    • ‘It is a lighthearted account by an unlikely bunch of wannabes and has beens.’
    • ‘Yes, snow could be the new sand for skiers and skiing wannabes in this United Arab Emirates sheikhdom.’
    • ‘Quite simply, everyone in the entertainment industry is here, from the stars to the wannabes.’
    • ‘I don't remember how I met Tony but, at 50-odd, he became the stalwart among a rabble of wannabes.’
    • ‘More than 15,000 wannabes have been waiting in line through the night for their chance at stardom.’
    • ‘These two requirements alone mean that many hopeful wannabes will not even get to first base.’
    • ‘Each of the presidential wannabes is carving out their own signature issue.’
    • ‘Get creative with other people's dos by taking one of the two major avenues for hairdresser wannabes in Montreal.’
    • ‘Who exactly is interested in another wannabee? Stop giving her press if you want her to be ignored.’
    • ‘However unhappy the voters are with Labour, they are unlikely to replace it with Labour wannabes.’
    • ‘For every Sinatra, there were legions of wannabes, never-weres and almost-weres.’
    • ‘The 10 presidential wannabes will take on one another today at a debate in New York.’
    • ‘It struck her suddenly: the world as one choppy sidewalk of wannabes - everyone with something to hail a chance for.’
    • ‘He was just a young wannabee in the club's Academy during this heady period and by the time he broke through, the good times were a fast-fading memory.’
    would-be, intending, aspirant, hopeful, optimistic, budding, wishful
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  • Aspiring or wanting to be a specified type of person.

    ‘a pair of wannabe pop stars’
    ‘wannabee millionaires’
    • ‘He fulfilled a dream chased by many wannabee parents, taking the opportunity to drive his wife and child home from hospital.’
    • ‘The narrative is uneven, the pacing - not exactly enlivening, the costuming - very wannabe - and the music - thoroughly off-putting’
    • ‘One of the most frightening prospects facing any wannabe chef is the frenetic pace of the modern day professional kitchen.’
    • ‘Mars One says it will start considering applications from wannabe astronauts from all over the world from 2013.’
    • ‘He advised wannabe singers to get as much work experience and practice as possible rather than paying for a pointless degree.’
    • ‘But the wannabe stars had plenty of help with a whole host of superstars taking to The X Factor stage.’
    • ‘Ever since he has become a wannabee politician, he has been in decline.’
    • ‘A chance encounter with a wannabe do-gooder enables him to open a village dispensary, which he starts to run with his wife.’
    • ‘His high school days are coming to an end and the wannabe doctor has already mapped out his future up until the age of 30.’
    • ‘The series features wannabe models completing a series of challenges including photoshoots, with the hope of becoming the face of a beauty brand.’


1970s: representing a pronunciation of want to be.