Definition of want in English:

want

verb

  • 1[with object] Have a desire to possess or do (something); wish for.

    ‘I want an apple’
    [with infinitive] ‘we want to go to the beach’
    [with object and infinitive] ‘she wanted me to leave’
    [no object] ‘I'll give you a lift into town if you want’
    • ‘Its members want action and their desire is motivated by an understanding of the facts about bigotry.’
    • ‘Pamela found herself not wanting the attention, wishing she was away from Dewhurst Manor long enough to collect her wits.’
    • ‘He wants my employer to decide where outside the network I am to be permitted to connect the Palm.’
    • ‘Until Frankie decides he wants it all, including the lady- and there'll be no witnesses.’
    • ‘So then put the pros and cons up for the public to decide if they want fluoride in their water.’
    • ‘She decides she wants hypnotherapy to find out why she causes so many accidents.’
    • ‘So when it came to choosing her object of desire, she wanted an attractive object with a practical side.’
    • ‘I sit at home at night thinking about them, wanting them, desiring them.’
    • ‘But the most improbable event occurs when he decides he wants a love life and asks to be given a human appearance.’
    • ‘But she became exasperated by the saga and decided she wanted her cash back.’
    • ‘He takes a risk because he thinks he can get away with it because the facts may well turn out to support his editor's desire and he wants a quiet life and to be obliging.’
    • ‘This year, when a Eurocamp holiday was offered to me, we decided we wanted sunshine pretty well guaranteed.’
    • ‘It is now formulating its desires of where it wants its marine reserves to be, then the industry can have what is left.’
    • ‘He takes time to walk around the set with his cameraman before the actors arrive and that he uses this time to decide how he wants the scene to look.’
    • ‘You'll have to decide if you want that kind of photo on the front page of your newspaper.’
    • ‘There's national encouragement to meet that commitment, but it's for each parish to decide if it wants a formal scheme.’
    • ‘Pakistan spurned the vote because it wants a plebiscite to decide rule between India and itself.’
    • ‘Five years ago, when manager of a Hull nursing home, she decided she wanted a career in the hospitality industry.’
    • ‘He wants the community to decide in a referendum at the September 2003 council elections.’
    • ‘Feel the heat of desire, forget wanting a new car.’
    desire, wish for, hope for, fancy, have a fancy for, take a fancy to, have an inclination for, care for, like, set one's heart on
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    1. 1.1Wish to speak to (someone)
      ‘Tony wants me in the studio’
      • ‘Henshaw wants his staff to speak to one another - an eccentric idea that surely cannot catch on.’
      • ‘But she wants her to know that the once voiceless children have spoken.’
      • ‘Students care a lot about their future and they want someone powerful to speak to them.’
      • ‘She was wanting me to call her and speak with her last night, after not having heard from her for months and months, but I just couldn't be bothered doing that.’
      • ‘I don't have time to read all the things I'd have to read for everyone else out there who also wants me to read their story or poem, if I said yes.’
      • ‘The moderator was flagging me down because he wanted me to speak for a couple of minutes.’
      • ‘He wants to speak to me tomorrow, or rather, as he put it, he wants me to speak to him.’
      • ‘I want every member who wants to speak to be able to have his or her say, and to be heard.’
      • ‘I don't want to speak for X. I don't know if he wants me to tell people about the stuff he did.’
      • ‘A friend told me that she had spoken to a Spiritualist Healer about me and he wanted me to go and see him.’
    2. 1.2(of a suspected criminal) be sought by the police for questioning.
      ‘he is wanted by the police in connection with an arms theft’
      • ‘Neighbours were woken up by police officers who wanted to know where Mrs Wiggins and their two children were.’
      • ‘He was named as wanted by Bedfordshire Police in 1998 in connection with the murder of Mr Farrow.’
      • ‘Yosic was wanted by Interpol for murders and drug dealing in the Netherlands and Germany.’
      • ‘The crane driver fled the scene after the accident and is wanted for questioning.’
      • ‘Egan is only wanted for questioning at the moment, and is not necessarily a suspect in the bombing.’
      • ‘Seven men have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burglary, and another is wanted by police.’
      • ‘The police had wanted him to testify, but Mr. M. said that he did not want to get involved.’
      • ‘She is known to have had a relationship with a homeless man who was wanted by police in connection with a stolen credit card.’
      • ‘The four men pictured above are urgently wanted to assist the police in their enquiries.’
      • ‘There are around 700 bail dodgers in Bolton who are wanted by police on outstanding warrants.’
    3. 1.3Desire (someone) sexually.
      ‘I've wanted you since the first moment I saw you’
      • ‘So Kathy is reduced to tears of frustration as she waits to see whether Anna wants her as a sexual partner.’
      • ‘I've always tried to please him with the clothes I buy but him not wanting me sexually I find very hurtful.’
    4. 1.4North American informal [no object]Desire to be in or out of a particular place or situation.
      ‘if anyone wants out, there's the door’
      • ‘One youngster said the only thing he wanted out of school was himself.’
      • ‘If it was beating down on this guy that he wanted out on Monday, what's that say about what's going on in there?’
      • ‘Tabloids have reported that she didn't want children and that's why Brad wanted out.’
      • ‘Like Dillon, he wants out of his current situation.’
      • ‘It supports the sense that the Commission wants out.’
      • ‘I know what he wants from certain situations and what he wants out of a team.’
      • ‘I smiled slightly, ‘The game is afoot: anyone wants out, now's the time to say it.’’
      • ‘Rosa said that although she does not want to drop the charges, she cannot handle the pressures of the situation anymore and wants out of the Army.’
      • ‘So, for starters, we can place anyone who wants into an elite fighting unit, but does not meet the vision requirements, into a difficult training program.’
      • ‘Never thrusting himself upon the crowd, but quietly allowing people to find him, he had a confidence in his own ability to judge who and what he wants out of every situation.’
      • ‘It combines faith, commune, all the key elements of magick, in a simple system that it available to anyone who wants in on it.’
      • ‘For those wanting in on the action, the group will be having both fall and spring auditions.’
      • ‘Anyone else wants in on a very casual group comic blog, with no real guidelines and no minimum posting requirements, just let me know.’
      • ‘He wants out of the hypocrisy of his ordination, but he has no place to go.’
      • ‘My wife dropped the bomb on me last April - didn't want to work on fixing the marriage, just wanted out.’
      • ‘You know, he wanted out of that quicker than these people got married on Fox wanted out of that marriage.’
      • ‘He was all set to write about his experiences on the jury, and now he wants out of the deal.’
      • ‘Jonera just wants out of Haiti as soon as possible.’
      • ‘Clearly, this was a guy, with all the impending pressures, he wanted out of that marriage.’
      • ‘The last poster is right about Democrats wanting in on it, too.’
  • 2informal [with infinitive] Should or need to do something.

    ‘you don't want to believe everything you hear’
    • ‘Part of me is quite cynical but there's another part that wants to believe stuff like that.’
    • ‘Like the lover let down on a thousand occasions already, we wanted to believe that this time everything would be all right.’
    • ‘Nick wants to believe his father, a numbers runner, did not run away, but was murdered.’
    • ‘It's what he believes every leader who wants to make history is destined to do.’
    • ‘I am of the circle that believes if one wants to do that, it is their prerogative.’
    • ‘He also believes that Moscow wants to use the threat of unleashing ethnic conflict in the Crimea as an instrument to keep Ukraine in line.’
    • ‘I want to believe that I am empowered with the ability to exercise my responsibilities.’
    • ‘I think Morpurgo really wants to believe in Christopher, but I didn't really accept him.’
    • ‘No one wants to believe a teacher could do this to children; every clue is misread or ignored.’
    • ‘He had the kind of personality that made you want to believe everything he said, even if he said the sky was pink.’
    • ‘I think that the reason that the story has been so tenacious is that we want to believe that it's true.’
    • ‘The tourism board believes otherwise and wants to change this perception.’
    • ‘I want to believe everything the marketing people tell me about whisky, and more besides.’
    • ‘It is believed he also wants to secure powers over broadcasting for Holyrood.’
    • ‘I don't believe anyone wants to see their park carved up without being given a chance to have their say.’
    • ‘Tell me why you think it's a fantastic place, because I really want to believe it is.’
    • ‘I want to make them believe more in themselves and then they can do something with their lives.’
    • ‘She wants to believe her mother died peacefully from her illness, but now doesn't know.’
    • ‘It is up to each and every individual to make a choice about what he/she wants to believe in.’
    • ‘Clearly, Orr wants to believe that money and material advantage explain all.’
    should, ought, need, must
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    1. 2.1British [with present participle](of a thing) require to be attended to in a specified way.
      ‘the wheel wants greasing’
      • ‘The whole lot wants digging up and replacing with a small roundabout like it should have been since day one.’
  • 3literary [no object] Lack something desirable or essential.

    ‘you shall want for nothing while you are with me’
    1. 3.1archaic [with object](chiefly used in expressions of time) lack or be short of (a specified amount or thing)
      ‘it wanted twenty minutes to midnight’

noun

  • 1[mass noun] A lack or deficiency of something.

    ‘Victorian houses which are in want of repair’
    ‘for want of a better location we ate our picnic in the cemetery’
    • ‘The story goes that the handsome prince, in want of a wife, invited all the girls in the land to a ball.’
    • ‘I was never any good at anything in this department, though not for lack of interest or want of trying.’
    • ‘Men, he claimed, are in want of youth, good skin and lustrous hair.’
    • ‘The broken roof tiles seen through the grilled door say the area is in want of care.’
    • ‘It wasn't for lack of want for friends that he had few, but for his place of residence.’
    lack, absence, non-existence, unavailability
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    1. 1.1The state of being poor and in need of essentials; poverty.
      ‘freedom from want’
      • ‘What Ireland and our Bertie should align itself and us to is not a war on terror but a war on want.’
  • 2A desire for something.

    ‘the expression of our wants and desires’
    • ‘It is an objective expression of subjective judgments concerning human wants, now and in the future.’
    • ‘We are taught and indoctrinated into pursuing our own wants and desires, often at the expense of others.’
    • ‘We may all have different ideas of how to get to that place, but in the end we have the same wants and needs and desires.’
    • ‘It is a great place to acquire and accessorize all your wants and desires - a great place to shop till you drop.’
    • ‘The course of events that puts you there happens fast and without regard to your wants and desires.’
    • ‘The temperament becomes more unilateral, unaffected by the wants and desires of others.’
    • ‘No test in the world was ever designed to take the place of your own wants and desires.’
    • ‘After too long a period of time, we as human beings will begin to seek ways to meet our needs, wants and desires much closer to home.’
    • ‘You need to be true to yourself, and open about your wants and desires, while allowing him to do the same.’
    • ‘It is above and beyond ourselves, and as such it unites the world in the grand scheme of things, even as it is birthed in its own desires and needs and wants.’
    • ‘He pledged to put aside his wants and desires and to pursue what God wanted for his life.’
    • ‘To experience wants, desires, and preferences is a normal part of the human condition.’
    • ‘Of course there are other fine makers who could have met my wants but the desire was gone.’
    • ‘So, my experience, wants and desires are way past quick and easy line drawings of charts.’
    • ‘Such a metaphor as the menu gives couples a vehicle for exploring their wants and desires.’
    • ‘Take responsibility yourself, communicate your needs, wants and desires to your partner.’
    • ‘He gave her everything she wanted and fulfilled his own wants, needs and desire.’
    • ‘Choice within the National Health Service is treated like a one sided demand that our wants should be satisfied by somebody else.’
    • ‘It is time for us to come together and communicate our common wants, needs, desires and goals.’
    • ‘That kind of negligence shows clear contempt for our generation's wants and needs.’
    wish, desire, demand, longing, yearning, fancy, craving, hankering
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Origin

Middle English: the noun from Old Norse vant, neuter of vanr lacking; the verb from Old Norse vanta ‘be lacking’. The original notion of ‘lack’ was early extended to ‘need’ and from this developed the sense ‘desire’.

Pronunciation:

want

/wɒnt/