- wishing or pretending to be: a would-be wit.
- intended to be: a would-be kindness.
- a person who wishes or pretends to be something: Opera singers and would-bes should practice at least four hours a day.
Origin of would-be
1250–1300; Middle English (adj.)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Related Wordseager, would-be, prospective, budding, potential, enterprising, longing, striving, endeavoring, ambitious, aspirant, enthusiastic, impassioned, wishful, zealous, apparent, apparently, fake, mock, near
Examples from the Web for wouldbe
July 17: A little upset by the episode of the wouldbe assassin, I decided to go up to London for the day.Greener Than You Think
A big word that Mr. Wouldbe uses where Mr. Is uses the little word live.The Verbalist
Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
Many criminals are acquitted who wouldbe convicted if the penalty were imprisonment.Public Speaking
- usually derogatory wanting or professing to bea would-be politician
- intended to bewould-be generosity
- derogatory a person who wants or professes to be something that he is not
- Indian the person to whom one is is engaged to be married; fiancé or fiancée
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