Definition of desire in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /dəˈzī(ə)r/


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
More example sentences
  • Given the strong desires of those who wish to maintain the status quo, however, the plan faces an uphill battle before being adopted.
  • When film stars join politics out of strong commitment or a genuine desire to do public good, their credibility is intact.
  • 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.
wish, want, aspiration, fancy, inclination, impulse;
eagerness, enthusiasm, determination
informal yen, itch, jones
1.1Strong sexual feeling or appetite: they were clinging together in fierce mutual desire
More example sentences
  • A strong sexual desire, it was contended, should be recognised as a sign of health and energy, both for the individual and for society.
  • When panderers to sexual desire frequent a location, other appetite providers will follow.
  • Fortunately, today there are lots of options for keeping a woman's sexual desire strong.
lust, sexual attraction, passion, sensuality, sexuality;
informal the hots, raunchiness, horniness


[with object]
1Strongly wish for or want (something): he never achieved the status he so desired (as adjective desired) it failed to create the desired effect
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The restrictions contradict the wishes of researchers desiring public availability.
want, wish for, long for, yearn for, crave, hanker after, be desperate for, be bent on, covet, aspire to;
informal have a yen for, have a jones for, yen for, hanker after/for
required, necessary, proper, right, correct;
appropriate, suitable;
preferred, chosen, selected
wished for, wanted, coveted;
sought-after, longed for, yearned for, long-awaited
informal must-have
1.1Want (someone) sexually: there had been a time, years ago, when he had desired her
More example sentences
  • This is starting to form a divide in our relationship - he still desires me sexually and is understandably hurt when I don't reciprocate.
  • How could I get by so thoroughly desiring someone I could never have?
  • 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.
be attracted to, lust after, burn for, be infatuated by
informal fancy, have the hots for, have a crush on, be mad about, be crazy about
1.2 archaic Express a wish to (someone); request or entreat.
Example sentences
  • I went to Mr. Keys, and desired him to go with me.
  • 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 desired her to persevere, and to return in another week.


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

Words that rhyme with desire

acquire, admire, afire, applier, aspire, attire, ayah, backfire, barbwire, bemire, briar, buyer, byre, choir, conspire, crier, cryer, defier, denier, dire, drier, dryer, dyer, enquire, entire, esquire, expire, fire, flyer, friar, fryer, Gaia, gyre, hellfire, hire, hiya, ire, Isaiah, jambalaya, Jeremiah, Josiah, Kintyre, latria, liar, lyre, Maia, Maya, Mayer, messiah, mire, misfire, Nehemiah, Obadiah, papaya, pariah, peripeteia, perspire, playa, Praia, prior, pyre, quire, replier, scryer, shire, shyer, sire, skyer, Sophia, spire, squire, supplier, Surabaya, suspire, tier, tire, transpire, trier, tumble-dryer, tyre, Uriah, via, wire, Zechariah, Zedekiah, Zephaniah

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: de·sire

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.