Definition of wish in English:

wish

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1 Feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable; want something that cannot or probably will not happen.

    ‘we wished for peace’
    [with clause] ‘he wished that he had practiced the routines’
    • ‘They were graceful to watch in movement, though I wished for stronger color.’
    • ‘While we communally wished for lightning to strike.’
    • ‘He wished for not a care in the world, a place where he could forget all his worries and simply relax.’
    • ‘Sophia was not pleased with the day's events and just wished for a second chance she knew she would not get.’
    • ‘I've always wished for that kind of traffic but I never expected it to come from such an unlikely source.’
    • ‘When I was a kid, I remember we all wished for snow by Thanksgiving.’
    • ‘Because they know what they have always desired, valued, wished for, and they find that these novelties are better means to their own ends than their old ways.’
    • ‘I wished for a lot of things that would probably never happen and a tear fell for every one.’
    desire, want, hope for, long for, yearn for, crave, hunger for, thirst for, lust after, covet, sigh for, pine for, dream of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Silently invoke a hope or desire, especially in a ritualized way.
      ‘I closed my eyes and wished’
      • ‘I sighed and silently wished I was wearing a skirt, it was easier to walk in.’
      • ‘Silently wishing I'd brought my hiking boots, I strike out for the store.’
      • ‘I silently wished that no club owner would let them in their establishment that night.’
      • ‘Silently, she wished that her husband would be there with her, and he would guide her through it all, but she was alone this time.’
      • ‘‘I'll get it,’ I said quickly rushing from the room silently wishing that it wasn't Dean.’
      • ‘Or maybe I just would have given them the finger and silently wished I was braver.’
      • ‘I looked up, hoping, wishing, yearning, that maybe, just possibly, Summer could have gotten better.’
      • ‘He cursed silently, wishing he could kill this guy.’
      • ‘Still, she stared anxiously at the silent phone, wishing there was some way to be sure.’
      • ‘I watched and stood silent, wishing I had the courage to say something but too afraid that if I said anything, people might suspect I was gay too.’
      • ‘And I, powerless to go with her as she was powerless to stay with me, stood here silently wishing I had time to say everything I never told her.’
      • ‘He flung the door open in disgust as I silently followed, wishing I never said anything in the first place.’
      • ‘The first semester was okay, but after Christmas I started to pine for home, wishing I was closer, that I could just be there.’
      • ‘I cursed silently, wishing I had never let Jamie persuade me into wearing this.’
      • ‘He was always silently wishing in his heart that Marianne someday will notice him.’
      • ‘She wept quietly, wishing she could be silent in case a soldier may be coming close, but she couldn't still her weakening voice.’
      • ‘She glanced at the table, silently wishing she could give him more, but knowing he wouldn't ask for it even if she could.’
      • ‘Alex became silent, and suddenly wished he hadn't asked that question.’
      • ‘I rested my head on the steering wheel, crying silently and wishing, hoping she was okay.’
      • ‘Well, he's playing in the Bay tonight, and I'm moaning and rocking and pining and wishing like all hell that I was there too.’
    2. 1.2[with infinitive] Feel or express a desire to do something.
      ‘they wish to become involved’
      • ‘If those involved wish to risk their lives that is their choice but to risk the lives of the public is another matter entirely.’
      • ‘Well, it is not just a question of the Met, I think any of the individuals involved would wish to defend their position and their reputation.’
      • ‘Let those involved decide if they'd wish to participate in the meting out of justice.’
      • ‘I wish to record my gratitude and congratulations to all those involved.’
      • ‘There is also a YPT scheme for younger teenagers and the BAC offers opportunities to virtually anyone in the borough who wishes to become involved in theatre.’
      • ‘The centre now offers a group program dealing with grief and loss as well as training for men wishing to be involved in community work.’
      • ‘Some of the matters involved in States wishing to retain controls go beyond the simple issues of ministerial empires.’
      • ‘His attitude is that he does not wish to be involved in any argument whether this valuation is right or wrong.’
      • ‘Alternatively, you may wish to complain to the estate agent involved.’
      • ‘I was involved with parties who wished to purchase my property at any cost.’
      • ‘She said the company had subsequently done an urgent review of the stores involved and then decided it did not wish to renew the Post Office contracts.’
      • ‘All parents, coaches and mentors are welcome to attend these sessions, which are most valuable for any parents wishing to become involved with the Club.’
      • ‘I wish to be involved in deciding the treatment I receive as much as possible.’
      • ‘He also understood that WFD were involved and wished to rebuild that connection.’
      • ‘Any boat owner wishing to become involved in Boatwatch can get a registration form from their local marine office or police station.’
      • ‘In addition, he has made it known that he wishes to become involved in charity work.’
      • ‘The event is aimed to support those already involved and encourage any woman wishing to take up the sport.’
      • ‘Ladies wishing to be involved in the fundraising feat should be aged over 17.’
      • ‘Also needed are locals wishing to get involved by decorating their home, shop, office or workplace along a 1940s theme for the festival weekend.’
      • ‘He had approached the headmaster in advance of the trial and was told that neither the children nor their parents wished to be involved.’
      • ‘Any girl wishing to get involved can contact Carmel Lynch on 41839.’
      want, desire, have an inclination, be inclined, feel inclined, feel like, care
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3[with object and infinitive] Ask (someone) to do something or that (something) be done.
      ‘I wish it to be clearly understood’
      • ‘I do not wish any rituals, except the recitation of the Guru Granth, to follow my death.’
      • ‘I looked hopefully up at my parents wishing their sad expressions would change, but they didn't.’
      • ‘I've never been to St. Lucia before - I wish my first visit could be more than 23 hours long.’
      • ‘And it's very easy for me to look into the eyes of a child and remember being that kid, feeling so powerless, wishing somebody would help me.’
      • ‘And I am at present wishing OUR snow would go away!’
      • ‘I wish these Indian organizations and many others could reach some level of professionalism.’
      • ‘And they're pretty much wishing the whole thing would go away.’
      • ‘She departed with the tennis racquets, walking gracefully off the court and leaving me sitting on the bench wishing the earth would open and swallow me up.’
      • ‘And I scuttled out wishing the floor would open up.’
      • ‘After the three hours, I was just wishing it wouldn't end.’
      • ‘If I wish an organization to lobby for my political beliefs, I will join such an organization.’
      • ‘In other words, wishing it to happen won't really make it happen unless there is enough shifting of negotiating positions.’
      • ‘Having promised to join in the celebrations and wave to his mum if his team won, the Rangers boss was doubtless wishing this ever-improving campaign would never end.’
      • ‘It's so frosty here, I keep wishing it would snow.’
      • ‘However, as I have no stamina for non-narrative documentaries, by about two thirds of the way through I was bored and wishing it'd finish.’
    4. 1.4[with two objects] Express a desire for (the success or good fortune) of (someone)
      ‘they wish her every success’
      • ‘She calls after us to wish us a Shabbat Shalom and while we bless her with health, happiness and success, she wishes us the same.’
      • ‘Alan and Lisa are wished every success and happiness.’
      • ‘Both young people are wished every happiness and success in the years ahead.’
      • ‘She wished him every success with his latest publication.’
      • ‘He is pursuing a professional career in dance and of course our family wishes him every success and happiness.’
    5. 1.5wish something on[with object] Hope that something unpleasant will happen to.
      ‘I would not wish it on the vilest soul’
      • ‘Not because I wish that misery on them, but because I think this would be one of those miseries that lightens upon being shared.’
      • ‘I've never wished death on anyone, you know, and I'd never wish burns on anyone, but these people, they deserve all that they get and more because they're just a worthless space, they're just nothing.’
      • ‘And yet how could he be sane to wish this fate on the world?’
      • ‘He does drive a taxi though, I wouldn't wish that fate on anyone.’
      • ‘We would all die eventually, whether anyone wished it on us or not.’
      • ‘‘I wouldn't wish it on anyone,’ he says, remembering what it was like in 1989 when he had to hang on until midnight to see if he still had a seat.’
      • ‘I don't think that I would wish this pain on anyone.’
      • ‘Not that I wished that fate on him its just sometimes as a kid, and as an adult too, you think that the only way to get out of those comparison shadows is for the other person to completely slip up.’
      • ‘I am doubtful that you would wish this disability on anyone but by making people aware of the problems, then they won't have to go through the same problems that you have encountered.’
      • ‘I said, ‘You wouldn't wish the suffering on anyone, but if it doesn't break people it often makes them more generous and empathetic to others.’’
      • ‘I wouldn't wish a near-miss on anyone, but maybe sharing the experience will help others understand.’
      • ‘I've had my loans called twice in my career, and I wouldn't wish the experience on anyone.’
      • ‘As bad as he felt, he didn't wish his misery on anyone else.’
      • ‘It is far from clear what their agenda is now: do they just wish a plague on everyone's house?’
      • ‘I'm not vindictive and I don't wish any ill health on him, but he has to serve the time.’
      • ‘The trauma just goes on and on and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.’
      • ‘No one should have to suffer the awkwardness, pain, and humiliation of being an outcast, and I feel that it is terrible to wish it on anyone.’
      • ‘He added, ‘The closer you were to facing and accepting death, the harder it was to wish the fear on anyone else.’’
      • ‘Modern political speech is so dopey, so banal, that it's no wonder why people wish a pox on all houses.’
      • ‘However, high anxiety can be no less debilitating and I wouldn't wish either condition on anyone.’

noun

  • 1A desire or hope for something to happen.

    ‘the union has reiterated its wish for an agreement’
    [with infinitive] ‘it is their wish to continue organizing similar exhibitions’
    • ‘Happy birthday and I hope your wish for a huge boost to global development comes true.’
    • ‘And his only wish now is to continue telling stories till the last breath.’
    • ‘The men continue to work for themselves, which is a feature of gypsy life, as is their wish to continue to live in caravans.’
    • ‘Of course that occurs, but people sell their land because, as the treaty assumed, it may be their wish and desire to do so.’
    • ‘We both expressed our wish to continue these talks and to find sensible solutions.’
    • ‘The idea of the lake stretching across the whole world was only a desire, a wish shared by everyone in Belryno.’
    • ‘We all shared a wish, a hope, and a dream to bring back justice, freedom and most of all fun.’
    • ‘However his greatest wish was to continue his pastoral work in Ghana.’
    • ‘You however did, and as I'm twenty I no longer have to follow your every wish and whim.’
    • ‘Maybe because he had long since given up hope that such a wish was anything but a childish dream.’
    • ‘We expect and hope that Australia and Indonesia have the same wish.’
    • ‘We care enough about Jackie that we simultaneously hope that his wish to go to war will be granted, and that it never will.’
    • ‘I guessed that my life was such a disaster that I didn't have the mind to have a dream, a wish of my own.’
    • ‘They knew his fears and best hopes, his wishes and his dying dreams.’
    • ‘But it must be more than a hope or a wish, more than knowing that it is good for you.’
    • ‘We are a mixed bag of people, with different ideals, hopes, wishes and dreams.’
    • ‘There is agreement in the wish to overcome the current situation as anomalous.’
    • ‘This can have the effect of leaving letters unread, the opposite of the desired wish of the writer.’
    • ‘She told me she was comfortable talking to him, and he supported her wish to continue getting her education.’
    • ‘When you don't have a strong sense of self, you become a reflection of other people's hopes, wishes, expectations and opinions about you.’
    desire, longing, hope, yearning, inclination, urge, whim, craving, hunger, thirst, lust
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually wishes An expression of a desire or hope for something to happen, typically in the form of a request or instruction.
      ‘she must carry out her late father's wishes’
      • ‘Their increasing need for independence may make kids want to defy their parents' wishes or instructions as a way of asserting their independence.’
      • ‘Jessica has been inconsistent in the expression of her wishes, wanting more time in the care of her father and then being content with the existing arrangement.’
      • ‘The commanding general wishes to talk to her himself, but it is of low priority, with the fight so close at hand.’
      • ‘It was the first time he'd gone against his father's wishes - instead, he took his mother's advice and went to catering college.’
      • ‘In determining whether a patient's expressed wishes are applicable to the circumstances, they must be considered in their context.’
      • ‘His mathematics teacher advised that Arthur be encouraged to pursue his studies in this area rather than follow his father's wishes to enter the family business as merchants.’
      • ‘When war broke out she became secretary of the local Home Guard in Spalding, but had really set her heart on joining the Wrens and, against her father's wishes, secretly applied.’
      • ‘The expression of your wishes in an informal letter to the trustees and guardians is often an easier way of ensuring your children are brought up as you would wish.’
      • ‘Residents are also concerned London Assembly and central Government objectives go against the wishes of the community.’
      • ‘The ultimate decision in every case should be that of the woman who is pregnant, having taken the father's wishes on board if relevant.’
      • ‘We not only acknowledge but also predict the desires and wishes of our customers.’
      • ‘We're not always successful in answering all their wishes and desires, but we do work very closely with them.’
      • ‘I am afraid it is more to my father's wishes than mine.’
      • ‘He said nothing, but the tight set of his jaw made it quite clear that he did not approve of what he considered direct defiance of his wishes.’
      • ‘He added they would consider planning requirements, the wishes of the community and value for money when assessing prospective bids.’
      • ‘Well, individually or collectively, the musicians were entirely responsive to the wishes of their Music Director.’
      • ‘I respect and understand the director's wishes about a commentary track, I just don't agree with him.’
      • ‘It will be one of the first stadia in the UK to include a safe standing area as a direct response to the wishes of Salford fans.’
      • ‘The performers of the reading were uniformly matched and admirably conformed to the director's wishes in under six hours of rehearsal making the event memorable.’
      • ‘But what's the point of getting actively involved if outside bodies can come in and blatantly make threats and demands and get their way against the wishes of the communities here?’
      request, requirement, bidding, instruction, direction, demand, order, command
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 An invocation or recitation of a hope or desire.
      ‘he makes a wish’
      • ‘So did everyone, there was a silent pause as everyone closes their eyes and makes a wish.’
      • ‘She shuts her eyes and makes a wish in her head then blows out the candles.’
      • ‘Legends have it that if one stands in the circle and makes a wish, it would come true.’
      • ‘You said yourself you don't have to come and get anyone that makes a wish.’
      • ‘Pushing her luck with the gods, she sees a falling star and makes a wish that has to be secret or it won't come true.’
    3. 1.3usually wishes An expression of a desire for someone's success or good fortune.
      ‘they had received kindness and good wishes from total strangers’
      • ‘Good wishes, good luck and every success in the future to all those graduates who were celebrating their success in the village last week.’
      • ‘Instead, offer congratulations and good wishes to the bride and groom with a champagne that is crisp but harmonious, with a fine flavour and a lasting finish.’
      • ‘I don't have an email address for him but let's all share good wishes via comments for him to heal up fast.’
      • ‘To all those people who have offered us their good wishes and practical support we say a very big thank you.’
      • ‘Hope everyone is thinking of us, giving their good wishes and hopefully we'll have a good successful summit and get everybody heading back home.’
      • ‘Good wishes are extended to all from the area who are in hospital just now.’
      • ‘‘He was interested to hear about all the hard work they put into raising funds for this project and has asked me to send you his good wishes,’ said Miss Hikmat.’
      • ‘All these teams will be in competition between June 22 and June 29 and they carry the good wishes of the entire community in their quest for further honours.’
      • ‘We, of course, express our good wishes to the couple.’
      • ‘Thanks for the good wishes about teaching, hope the birthday went well.’
      • ‘Our good wishes go to the Northern Rivers community and we hope Lismore continues to flourish and prosper in the future.’
      • ‘Throwing tsampa in the air in this way is an expression of good wishes for your own and others happiness and the overcoming of all obstacles.’
      • ‘There have been thousands of messages expressing support, good wishes, a joke or whatever they wanted.’
      • ‘The Commissioner deserves our good wishes and support for his success.’
      • ‘This winning team will now go on to contest the National Finals in May with all the hopes and good wishes of their fellow students.’
      • ‘Anne thanked Delia for her good wishes and complimented her on her hard work and success as captain.’
      • ‘Best wishes for a speedy recovery to full health to all from the area in hospital and continuing good wishes to those recuperating at home.’
      • ‘Thank you to everyone who's got in touch to offer their good wishes.’
      • ‘The community wish them joy, good wishes and congratulations.’
      • ‘Before All-Ireland finals, strangers in the street would express their good wishes.’
    4. 1.4 A thing or event that is or has been desired; an object of desire.
      ‘the petitioners eventually got their wish’

Usage

Is it correct to say I wish I were rich or I wish I was rich? On the question of the use of the subjunctive mood, see subjunctive

Phrases

  • if wishes were horses, beggars would ride

    • proverb If you could achieve your aims simply by wishing for them, life would be very easy.

      • ‘As they say though, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride!’
      • ‘If he'd conjured up a guitar and speakers, instead of wasting effort on a childish bit of revenge… and if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.’
  • wish someone well

    • Feel or express a desire for someone's well-being.

      • ‘I think everyone wishes him well but maybe in the past we have been too tolerant simply because we regard him as a well-liked and unique character.’
      • ‘If you don't care about your own emotional well-being, my just wishing you well won't really help you.’
      • ‘There was that lovely feeling of togetherness with everyone wishing her well, all delighting in the latest chapter in her life.’
      • ‘Everyone wishes her well because she's a great talent and a lovely lady.’
      • ‘The West Highland Way walk was great because as well as giving to charity, everyone joined together in wishing me well.’
  • the wish is father to the thought

    • proverb We believe a thing because we wish it to be true.

      • ‘Where the wish is father to the thought such logic is convincing.’
      • ‘I'm confident the war won't last much longer dearest and not merely because the wish is father to the thought.’
      • ‘So often on both sides the wish is father to the thought.’
      • ‘It seems with England that the wish is father to the thought while the Australians see what they have at their disposal and work from there.’
      • ‘Well, sometimes the wish is father to the thought.’

Origin

Old English wȳscan, of Germanic origin; related to German wünschen, also to ween and wont.

Pronunciation

wish

/wiSH/