Date: 1100-1200
Language: Old Norse
Origin: vanta


1 verb
want1 S1 W1 [not usually in progressive]


[transitive] to have a desire for somethingCOLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
want to do something want somebody to do something want something to happen whatever/anything you want whenever/wherever you want (to) if you want (to) get what you want do what you want want something badly desperately want something what I want (to do) is ... all I want is ... just what I('ve) always wanted (=used to thank someone for a present that you really like)
I really want a drink.
What do you want for your birthday?
She'd always wanted to go to Thailand.
I don't want Linda to hear about this.
He didn't want the holiday to end.
You can order whatever you want.
This shampoo is mild enough to use every day if you want.
If she doesn't get what she wants, she's not happy.
He wanted that job so badly he was willing to kill for it.
What I want to know is when we're going to get paid.
All I want is the chance to prove myself.
see usage note wish1


[transitive] used to say that you need something or to ask someone firmly to do something for you:
Do you still want these magazines, or can I throw them out?
want something done
I want that letter typed today.
want somebody to do something
I want you to find out what they're planning.
Do you want me to pick you up at the airport?
make you want to cry/throw up etc (=give you a strong feeling that you must do something)
It always makes me want to sneeze.
What do you want with a tool kit (=what do you need it for)?
want doing British English informal (=need to be done)
The carpet really wants cleaning.


[transitive] used when offering or suggesting something to someone:
Do you want a drink?
Do you want me to come with you?
Want a game of chess?
Who wants a cup of coffee (=used to offer something to a group of people)?


[transitive] spoken especially British English used to say that something is sensible or that someone should do it, especially when giving advice
may/might want to do something
You might want to install anti-virus software.
wouldn't want to do something (=used to say something would not be a good idea)
I wouldn't want to come here at night.
want to do something
You want to see a doctor about that cough.
You don't want to leave that - it'll get wet.

what do you want?

used to ask, often in a slightly rude way, what someone wants you to give them, do for them etc:
What do you want now? I'm busy.
What do you want - chocolate or vanilla?

ask for somebody

[transitive] to ask for someone to come and talk to you, or to come to a particular place:
You're wanted on the phone.
Christine wants you in her office now.


[intransitive and transitive] formal to suffer because you do not have something:
In many poorer countries, people still want basic food and shelter.

if you want

a) used to offer to do something:
I'll come with you if you want.
b) used to invite someone to do something or to give them permission:
Join in if you want.
You can stay if you want to.
c) used when someone suggests doing something, to say that you will do it, although you do not especially want to:
'Hey, shall we go to the beach?' 'If you want.'

who wants ...?

used to say that you do not like something or do not think that it is worth doing:
Who wants to go to a noisy disco anyway?

I just wanted to say/know etc

used to politely say something, ask about something etc:
I just wanted to check that the meeting is still on next week.

I don't want to sound/be ..., but ...

used to be polite when you are going to tell someone something that may upset them:
I don't want to sound rude, but I think you've had too much to drink.


[transitive] informal if you want someone, you want to have sex with them

want for something

phrasal verb

not want for something/want for nothing

to have something you need, or everything you need:
Say what you like, my kids never wanted for anything.

want in

phrasal verb
1 especially American English to want to be involved in something:
You want in, Mike?
2 American English to want to go into a place:
The dog wants in.

want out

phrasal verb
1 to want to stop being involved in something:
She was fed up and she wanted out.
2 American English to want to leave a place:
I think the cat wants out.

wish, hope, want, would like
Use wish to talk about things that are not true, not possible, or very unlikely I wish I knew more about science. She wished she hadn't said anything. I wish I could win the lottery.Use hope to talk about things that could happen, could have happened, or could be true I hope you have a happy birthday. I hope they got there in time. !! Do not use wish + (that) to say that you want something to happen in the future. Use hope I hope (NOT wish) that we'll all meet again soon. I hope you have a great time.You can use wish + noun in polite expressions meaning that you want someone to have something We wish you a safe journey. I wish you lots of luck.!! Wish to is very formal. Use want to or would like to to say what you want to happen I want to write to him but I don't know his address. I would like to run my own restaurant.
tenses with 'wish'
Things that you want to happen in the present or futureUse wish + past tense or wish + would I wish I didn't have to go. I wish they would stop arguing.You can use that or leave it out I wish that he would help more.!! In British English, you can either say 'I wish I was' or 'I wish I were', which is rather formal. In American English, you should use were I wish I were ten years younger.Things that you want to have happened in the pastUse wish + past perfect tense I wish I had paid more attention in class.See also wish

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