verb (used with object)
  1. to want; desire; long for (usually followed by an infinitive or a clause): I wish to travel. I wish that it were morning.
  2. to desire (a person or thing) to be (as specified): to wish the problem settled.
  3. to entertain wishes, favorably or otherwise, for: to wish someone well; to wish someone ill.
  4. to bid, as in greeting or leave-taking: to wish someone a good morning.
  5. to request or charge: I wish him to come.
verb (used without object)
  1. to desire; long; yearn (often followed by for): Mother says I may go if I wish. I wished for a book.
  2. to make a wish: She wished more than she worked.
  1. an act or instance of wishing.
  2. a request or command: I was never forgiven for disregarding my father's wishes.
  3. an expression of a wish, often one of a kindly or courteous nature: to send one's best wishes.
  4. something wished or desired: He got his wish—a new car.
Verb Phrases
  1. wish on,
    1. to force or impose (usually used in the negative): I wouldn't wish that awful job on my worst enemy.
    2. Also wish upon.to make a wish using some object as a magical talisman: to wish on a star.

Origin of wish

before 900; (v.) Middle English wisshen, Old English wȳscan; cognate with German wünschen, Old Norse æskja; akin to Old English wynn joy (see winsome), Latin venus charm (see Venus); (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.
Related formswish·er, nounwish·less, adjectivein·ter·wish, verb (used with object), nounout·wish, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for wish

1. crave. 5. direct, order. 12. will, want.

Synonym study

1. Wish, desire, want indicate a longing for something. To wish is to feel an impulse toward attainment or possession of something; the strength of the feeling may be of greater or lesser intensity: I wish I could go home. Desire, a more formal word, suggests a strong wish: They desire a new regime. Want, usually colloquial in use, suggests a feeling of lack or need that imperatively demands fulfillment: People all over the world want peace.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for wish on

wish on

  1. (tr, preposition) to hope that (someone or something) should be imposed (on someone); foistI wouldn't wish my cold on anyone


  1. (when tr, takes a clause as object or an infinitive; when intr, often foll by for) to want or desire (something, often that which cannot be or is not the case)I wish I lived in Italy; to wish for peace
  2. (tr) to feel or express a desire or hope concerning the future or fortune ofI wish you well
  3. (tr) to desire or prefer to be as specified
  4. (tr) to greet as specified; bidhe wished us good afternoon
  5. (tr) formal to order politelyI wish you to come at three o'clock
  1. the act of wishing; the expression of some desire or mental inclinationto make a wish
  2. something desired or wished forhe got his wish
  3. (usually plural) expressed hopes or desire, esp for someone's welfare, health, etc
  4. (often plural) formal a polite order or request
See also wish on
Derived Formswisher, nounwishless, adjective

Word Origin for wish

Old English wӯscan; related to Old Norse öskja, German wünschen, Dutch wenschen
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 wish on



Old English wyscan "to wish," from Proto-Germanic *wunskijanan (cf. Old Norse æskja, Danish ønske, Swedish önska, Middle Dutch wonscen, Dutch wensen, Old High German wunsken, German wunschen "to wish"), from PIE *wun-/*wen-/*won- "to strive after, wish, desire, be satisfied" (cf. Sanskrit vanati "he desires, loves, wins," Latin venus "love, sexual desire, loveliness," venerari "to worship;" see Venus). The noun is attested from c.1300. Wish fulfillment (1901) translates German wunscherfüllung (Freud, "Die Traumdeutung," 1900).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wish on

wish on

Foist or impose something on another, as in I wouldn't wish this job on my worst enemy. [Early 1900s]


In addition to the idiom beginning with wish

  • wish on

also see:

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