Language: Old English
Origin: wyscan


1 verb
wish1 S1 W1
1 [intransitive and transitive] formal if you wish to do something or you wish to have it done for you, you want to do it or want to have it done [= like]
wish to do something
I wish to make a complaint.
If you wish to discuss this matter further please do not hesitate to contact me.
You may leave now, if you wish.
(just) as you wish (=used in formal situations to tell someone you will do what they want)
'I'd like it to be ready by six.' 'Just as you wish, sir.'
The cook will prepare whatever you wish.
2 [transitive] to want something to be true although you know it is either impossible or unlikely [↪ if only]
wish (that)
I wish I didn't have to go to work today.
I wish that I could afford a new car.
He wished Emily were with him.
Sometimes I wish I had never been born.
3 [transitive] to say that you hope someone will have good luck, a happy life etc
wish somebody something
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
We wish them every happiness in their new home.
He shook my hand and wished me luck.
wish somebody well (=say that you hope that good things will happen to someone)
My friends wished me well in my new job.

I couldn't wish for a nicer/better etc ...

also the nicest/best etc ... I could wish for used to emphasize that you are very happy with what you have and cannot imagine anyone or anything better:
I couldn't wish for a better husband.
It's the best birthday present I could have wished for.

I wish (that) somebody would do something

spoken used to say that you find someone's behaviour annoying and want them to change:
I wish you'd stop treating me like a child!
6 [intransitive]
a) to want something to happen or to want to have something, especially when it seems unlikely or impossible [↪ long for]
wish for
It was no use wishing for the impossible.
She was like the sister I never had but always wished for.
b) to silently ask for something you want and hope that it will happen by magic or good luck - used especially in children's stories
wish for
One day she found a magic ring that brought her whatever she wished for.

I wish!

spoken used to say that something is not true, but you wish it was:
'I think he really likes you.' 'I wish!'

you wish!

spoken used to tell someone that what they want to happen or be true will definitely not happen or become true:
'I'm going to be famous one day.' 'You wish!'

wouldn't wish something on/upon somebody

spoken used to say that something is very unpleasant and that you would not like anyone to have to experience it:
Having your house broken into is terrible. I wouldn't wish it on anybody.

I don't wish to interfere/be nosy etc

British English spoken formal used to show you are sorry if what you are going to say upsets or annoys someone:
I don't wish to seem ungrateful, but it's not quite what I expected.

I (only) wish I knew

British English spoken used to emphasize that you do not know something, and you wish you did know:
'Where on earth have they gone?' 'I wish I knew!'

wish something ↔ away

phrasal verb
1 to make something unpleasant disappear by wanting it to disappear, without doing anything about it:
You can't just wish your problems away, you know!

wish your life away

to always be thinking about the future, so that you do not do or enjoy things now - used to show disapproval:
Don't wish your life away.

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 future Use 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 past Use wish + past perfect tense I wish I had paid more attention in class.

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