nt, wônt) KEY VERB: want·ed
, wants VERB: tr.
- To desire greatly; wish for: They want to leave. She wants a glass of water. See Synonyms at desire.
- To desire (someone to do something): I want you to clean your room.
- To request the presence or assistance of: You are wanted by your office.
- To seek with intent to capture: The fugitive is wanted by the police.
- To have an inclination toward; like: Say what you want, but be tactful.
- Informal To be obliged (to do something): You want to be careful on the ice.
- To be without; lack. See Synonyms at lack.
- To be in need of; require: "'Your hair wants cutting,' said the Hatter" (Lewis Carroll).
- To have need: wants for nothing.
- To be destitute or needy.
- To be disposed; wish: Call me daily if you want.
PHRASAL VERBS: want in Slang
- The condition or quality of lacking something usual or necessary: stayed home for want of anything better to do.
- Pressing need; destitution: lives in want.
- Something desired: a person of few wants and needs.
- A defect of character; a fault.
want out Slang
- To desire greatly to enter: The dog wants in.
- To wish to join a project, business, or other undertaking.
- To desire greatly to leave: The cat wants out.
- To wish to leave a project, a business, or other undertaking.
Middle English wanten
, to be lacking
, from Old Norse vanta
; see eu-
in Indo-European rootsOTHER FORMS:wanter(Noun)Usage Note:
meaning "desire" is followed immediately by an infinitive construction, it does not take for: I want you to go (not want for you to go).
and the infinitive are separated by a word or phrase, however, for
is used: What I want is for you to go. I want very much for you to go. Want
in its meaning of "have need, lack" normally takes for: They'll not want for anything now that they've inherited his estate.
See Usage Note at wish