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

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.

wisher, noun
wishless, adjective
interwish, verb (used with object), noun
outwish, verb (used with object)

1. crave. 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. 5. direct, order. 12. will, want.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
wish (wɪʃ)
vb (when tr, takes a clause as object or an infinitive; when intr, often foll by for)
1.  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 of: I wish you well
3.  (tr) to desire or prefer to be as specified
4.  (tr) to greet as specified; bid: he wished us good afternoon
5.  formal (tr) to order politely: I wish you to come at three o'clock
6.  the act of wishing; the expression of some desire or mental inclination: to make a wish
7.  something desired or wished for: he got his wish
8.  (usually plural) expressed hopes or desire, esp for someone's welfare, health, etc
9.  formal (often plural) a polite order or request
[Old English wӯscan; related to Old Norse öskja, German wünschen, Dutch wenschen]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. wyscan "to wish," from P.Gmc. *wunskijanan (cf. O.N. æskja, Dan. ønske, Swed. önska, M.Du. wonscen, Du. wensen, O.H.G. wunsken, Ger. wunschen "to wish"), from PIE *wun-/*wen-/*won- "to strive after, wish, desire, be satisfied" (cf. Skt. vanati "he desires, loves, wins," L. venus
"love, sexual desire, loveliness," venerari "to worship;" see Venus). The noun is attested from c.1300. Wishful first recorded 1523. Wishful thinking is recorded from 1932; wish fulfillment (1901) translates Ger. wunscherfüllung (Freud, "Die Traumdeutung," 1900).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with wish, also see if wishes were horses.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Please complete one application for each program you wish to attend with
Wish he was here to see all the controversy his biography is causing.
The decorations aren't permanent, so you can change the colors anytime you wish.
Colleges can use open-source software free and modify it as they wish.
Idioms & Phrases
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