[wont, wawnt]

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)



    want in/out, Chiefly Midland.
    1. to desire to enter or leave: The cat wants in.
    2. Informal.to desire acceptance in or release from something specified: I talked with Louie about our plan, and he wants in.

Origin of want

1150–1200; Middle English wante < Old Norse vanta to lack
Related formswant·er, nounwant·less, adjectivewant·less·ness, nounself-want, nounun·want·ed, adjective
Can be confusedunwanted unwontedwant wont

Synonyms for want

Synonym study

1. See wish. 3. See lack. 15. See poverty.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wants

Contemporary Examples of wants

Historical Examples of wants

  • The mis-a-blest folks I've ever saw was them that had killed all their wants by overfeedin' 'em.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Now he was active, acutely aware of himself and all his wants.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He wants to know what mysteries this mountain hides from his eyes.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • But I used then to say, and I still am of opinion, that he wants a heart: and if he does, he wants every thing.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • It's nice to be so tired, and to know one can sleep as long as one wants.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

British Dictionary definitions for wants




(tr) to feel a need or longing forI want a new hat
(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
(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
(tr) to feel the absence oflying on the ground makes me want my bed
(tr) to fall short by (a specified amount)
(tr) mainly British to have need of or require (doing or being something)your shoes want cleaning
(intr) to be destitute
(tr; often passive) to seek or request the presence ofyou're wanted upstairs
(intr) to be absent
(tr; takes an infinitive) informal should or ought (to do something)you don't want to go out so late
want in informal to wish to be included in a venture
want out informal to wish to be excluded from a venture


the act or an instance of wanting
anything that is needed, desired, or lackedto supply someone's wants
a lack, shortage, or absencefor want of common sense
the state of being in need; destitutionthe state should help those in want
a sense of lack; craving
Derived Formswanter, noun

Word Origin for 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




English dialect a mole

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for wants



c.1300, "deficiency, shortage," from Old Norse vant, neuter of vanr "wanting, deficient;" related to Old English wanian "to diminish" (see wane). Phrase for want of is recorded from c.1400. Meaning "state of destitution" is recorded from mid-14c. Newspaper want ad is recorded from 1897. Middle English had wantsum (c.1200) "in want, deprived of," literally "want-some."



c.1200, "to be lacking," from Old Norse vanta "to lack, want," earlier *wanaton, from Proto-Germanic *wanen, from PIE *we-no-, from root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out" (see vain). The meaning "desire, wish for" is first recorded 1706. Related: wanted; wanting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wants


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.