Definition of wistful in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈwɪs(t)fʊl/
Pronunciation: /ˈwɪs(t)f(ə)l/


Having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing: a wistful smile
More example sentences
  • Clarke has responded to his critics with a dollop of wistful regret, followed by an adamant refusal to back down.
  • The look on his face is, by now, nearly wistful; the smile almost bittersweet.
  • If you ask about her previous boyfriend and she gets a small, wistful smile on her face, change the subject.
regretful, nostalgic, yearning, longing;
plaintive, rueful, melancholy, sad, mournful, forlorn, disconsolate, woebegone, doleful;
pensive, reflective, contemplative, meditative, dreamy, daydreaming, in a reverie



Pronunciation: /ˈwɪs(t)fʊlnəs/
Pronunciation: /ˈwɪs(t)f(ə)lnəs/
Example sentences
  • My flirting with him represents some wistfulness, nostalgia and regret of those years past.
  • In contrast to the wistfulness associated with nostalgia, however, the feeling here was one of nervousness, and even desperation.
  • A seasonal wistfulness follows as I remember the faces and places of the Christmases of the past.


Early 17th century: apparently from obsolete wistly 'intently', influenced by wishful.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: wist|ful

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