[ wont, wawnt ]
See synonyms for: wantwantedwantingwants on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
  1. to feel a need or a desire for; wish for: to want one's dinner; always wanting something new.

  2. to wish, need, crave, demand, or desire (often followed by an infinitive): I want to see you.She wants to be notified.

  1. to be without or be deficient in: to want judgment; to want knowledge.

  2. to fall short by (a specified amount): The sum collected wants but a few dollars of the desired amount.

  3. to require or need: The house wants painting.

verb (used without object)
  1. to feel inclined; wish; like (often followed by to): We can stay home if you want.

  2. to be deficient by the absence of some part or thing, or to feel or have a need (sometimes followed by for): He did not want for abilities.

  1. to have need (usually followed by for): If you want for anything, let him know.

  2. to be in a state of destitution, need, or poverty: She would never allow her parents to want.

  3. to be lacking or absent, as a part or thing necessary to completeness: All that wants is his signature.

  1. something wanted or needed; necessity: My wants are few.

  2. something desired, demanded, or required: a person of childish, capricious wants.

  1. absence or deficiency of something desirable or requisite; lack: plants dying for want of rain.

  2. the state of being without something desired or needed; need: to be in want of an assistant.

  3. the state of being without the necessaries of life; destitution; poverty: a country where want is virtually unknown.

  4. a sense of lack or need of something: to feel a vague want.

Idioms about want

  1. want in / out, Chiefly Midland.

    • to desire to enter or leave: The cat wants in.

    • Informal. to desire acceptance in or release from something specified: I talked with Louie about our plan, and he wants in.

Origin of want

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English wante, from Old Norse vanta “to lack”

Other words for want

Other words from want

  • wanter, noun
  • wantless, adjective
  • want·less·ness, noun
  • self-want, noun
  • un·want·ed, adjective

Words that may be confused with want

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use want in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for want (1 of 2)


/ (wɒnt) /

  1. (tr) to feel a need or longing for: I want a new hat

  2. (when tr, may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to wish, need, or desire (something or to do something): he wants to go home

  1. (intr usually used with a negative and often foll by for) to be lacking or deficient (in something necessary or desirable): the child wants for nothing

  2. (tr) to feel the absence of: lying on the ground makes me want my bed

  3. (tr) to fall short by (a specified amount)

  4. (tr) mainly British to have need of or require (doing or being something): your shoes want cleaning

  5. (intr) to be destitute

  6. (tr; often passive) to seek or request the presence of: you're wanted upstairs

  7. (intr) to be absent

  8. (tr; takes an infinitive) informal should or ought (to do something): you don't want to go out so late

  9. want in informal to wish to be included in a venture

  10. want out informal to wish to be excluded from a venture

  1. the act or an instance of wanting

  2. anything that is needed, desired, or lacked: to supply someone's wants

  1. a lack, shortage, or absence: for want of common sense

  2. the state of being in need; destitution: the state should help those in want

  3. a sense of lack; craving

Origin of want

C12 (vb, in the sense: it is lacking), C13 (n): from Old Norse vanta to be deficient; related to Old English wanian to wane

Derived forms of want

  • wanter, noun

British Dictionary definitions for want (2 of 2)


/ (wɒnt) /

  1. English dialect a mole

Origin of want

Old English wand

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with want


In addition to the idioms beginning with want

  • want for nothing
  • want in

also see:

  • waste not, want not

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.