Definition of want in English:

want

Syllabification: want
Pronunciation: /wänt, wônt
 
 
/

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 go to her room [no object]: I’ll give you a lift into town if you want
    More example sentences
    • So when it came to choosing her object of desire, she wanted an attractive object with a practical side.
    • 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.
    • Feel the heat of desire, forget wanting a new car.
    Synonyms
    desire, wish for, hope for, aspire to, fancy, care for, like; long for, yearn for, crave, hanker after, hunger for, thirst for, cry out for, covet; need
    informal have a yen for, have a jones for, be dying for
  • 1.1Wish to consult or speak to (someone): Tony wants me in the studio
    More example sentences
    • He wants to speak to me tomorrow, or rather, as he put it, he wants me to speak to him.
    • The moderator was flagging me down because he wanted me to speak for a couple of minutes.
    • Students care a lot about their future and they want someone powerful to speak to them.
  • 1.2 (usually be wanted) (Of the police) desire to question or apprehend (a suspected criminal): he is wanted by the police in connection with an arms theft
    More example sentences
    • He was named as wanted by Bedfordshire Police in 1998 in connection with the murder of Mr Farrow.
    • There are around 700 bail dodgers in Bolton who are wanted by police on outstanding warrants.
    • She is known to have had a relationship with a homeless man who was wanted by police in connection with a stolen credit card.
  • 1.3Desire (someone) sexually: I’ve wanted you since the first moment I saw you
    More example sentences
    • I've always tried to please him with the clothes I buy but him not wanting me sexually I find very hurtful.
    • So Kathy is reduced to tears of frustration as she waits to see whether Anna wants her as a sexual partner.
  • 1.4 [with present participle] informal , chiefly British (Of a thing) require to be attended to in a specified way: the wheel wants greasing
    More example sentences
    • The whole lot wants digging up and replacing with a small roundabout like it should have been since day one.
  • 1.5 [with infinitive] informal Ought, should, or need to do something: you don’t want to believe everything you hear
    More example sentences
    • I want to believe everything the marketing people tell me about whisky, and more besides.
    • Like the lover let down on a thousand occasions already, we wanted to believe that this time everything would be all right.
    • He had the kind of personality that made you want to believe everything he said, even if he said the sky was pink.
    Synonyms
    should, ought to, need to, must
  • 1.6 [no object] (want in/into/out/away) • informal , chiefly North American Desire to be in or out of a particular place or situation: if anyone wants out, there’s the door
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    • Like Dillon, he wants out of his current situation.
    • 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.
  • 2 [no object] chiefly • archaic Lack or be short of something desirable or essential: you shall want for nothing while you are with me
  • 2.1 [with object] (Chiefly used in expressions of time) be short of or lack (a specified amount or thing): it wanted twenty minutes to midnight it wants a few minutes of five o’clock
    More example sentencesSynonyms
    lack, be without, have need of, be devoid of, be bereft of, be missing

noun

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Phrases

for want of

Because of a lack of (something): for want of a better location we ate our picnic lunch in the cemetery
More example sentences
  • His torment in front of goal was agonisingly extended but not for lack of trying or for want of bravery.
  • Part of our community has been shut down and for want of what?
  • Back then he was scared of failure, scared he would go bankrupt for want of 30 quid to pay the gas bill.

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'.

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