- characterized by melancholy; longing; yearning.
- pensive, especially in a melancholy way.
Origin of wistful
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for wistful
But for much of the country, these fleeting moments of wistful longing happen in the everyday-low-prices aisles of Walmart.Heartache by the Numbers and OkCupid’s Founder Has Got Yours
October 6, 2014
It makes me feel sort of hopeful, and I have a wistful sort of longing for it.Joy Reid, MSNBC Anchor, on the Racism of the Tea Party, Family Dramas, and Why She Loves Boxing
March 27, 2014
Naomi Watts plays Diana as a sweet-natured, wistful, half-wit.Princess Diana Was the Girlfriend From Hell. Why Is This Movie So Boring?
November 4, 2013
This puts into wistful perspective the developing consensus that we should do something about it.Climate Change is Here, Ready or Not. So What Now?
March 30, 2013
Andy likes watching the toddlers, but he is wistful about his old life, and somewhat defensive about his new one.Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men Turned Me Into a Caricature
September 29, 2012
He turned round and saw before him the wistful face of Fanny!Night and Morning, Complete
As we entered the ballroom, her eyes were wistful, searching, yet not expecting to find.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
He put on his spectacles and looked at her with wistful kindness.The Incomplete Amorist
There was a strange note of wistful pleading in the nurse's voice.Gloria and Treeless Street
Annie Hamilton Donnell
I did observe that you did cast a wistful eye upon my bookshelf.Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
- sadly pensive, esp about something yearned for
Word Origin and History for wistful
1610s, "closely attentive," from obsolete wist "intent" (c.1500), of uncertain origin. Perhaps formed on the model of wishful. The meaning of "yearningly eager" is first recorded 1714. Related: Wistfully; wistfulness.