• synonyms


[won-uh-bee, waw-nuh‐]
See more synonyms for wannabe on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural wan·na·bes. Informal.
  1. one who aspires, often vainly, to emulate another's success or attain eminence in some area.
Show More

Origin of wannabe

1980–85; derivative of (I) wanna be…
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wannabe

Contemporary Examples

British Dictionary definitions for wannabe



  1. informal
    1. a person who desires to be, or be like, someone or something elsea group of Marilyn Monroe wannabes
    2. (as modifier)a wannabe film star
Show More

Word Origin

C20: phonetic shortening of want to be
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

Word Origin and History for wannabe


1981, originally American English surfer slang, from casual pronunciation of want to be; popularized c.1984 in reference to female fans of pop singer Madonna.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper