Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[wist-fuh l] /ˈwɪst fəl/
characterized by melancholy; longing; yearning.
pensive, especially in a melancholy way.
Origin of wistful
1605-15; obsolete wist quiet, silent, attentive (variant of whist2) + -ful
Related forms
wistfully, adverb
wistfulness, noun
unwistful, adjective
unwistfully, adverb
unwistfulness, noun
2. reflective, musing, meditative, forlorn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for wistfulness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was a new atmosphere of wistfulness about the girl that made his heart ache.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • There was a wistfulness about Tillie's mouth that set him wondering.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • There had been a wistfulness, so rarely in Martin's voice, that Rose had detected it instantly.

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • A new wistfulness was in her face, but it was not the wistfulness of hunger.

    White Fang Jack London
  • Vere smiled as she listened, but there was a wistfulness in her heart.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • The wistfulness left her eyes, and she smiled mischievously.

    The Education of Eric Lane Stephen McKenna
  • He shook his head, and his face grew overcast and softened by wistfulness.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • Then he added, with a sort of wistfulness: "But Indian would leave pale-face——"

    The Fiery Totem Argyll Saxby
British Dictionary definitions for wistfulness


sadly pensive, esp about something yearned for
Derived Forms
wistfully, adverb
wistfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for wistfulness



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for wistfulness

Word Value for wistfulness

Scrabble Words With Friends