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would-be

[woo d-bee] /ˈwʊdˌbi/
adjective
1.
wishing or pretending to be:
a would-be wit.
2.
intended to be:
a would-be kindness.
noun
3.
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
1250-1300; Middle English (adj.)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for would-be
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The would-be natural scientist may fail at any one of several points.

    Psychology Robert S. Woodworth
  • Angelo, the would-be Puritan ruler, was a "false seemer," Malvolio was a "chough."

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • "He's got a practice, though," went on Jim, utterly ignoring the apparent misery of his would-be tormentor.

    Out of a Labyrinth Lawrence L. Lynch
  • Then she called me to her by name in a would-be pompous manner.

    Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood George MacDonald
  • They faced the pirates, the foreign fishers, the would-be settlers, and the natural hardships with equal fortitude and insolence.

    Brothers of Peril Theodore Goodridge Roberts
British Dictionary definitions for would-be

would-be

adjective (prenominal)
1.
generally (derogatory) wanting or professing to be: a would-be politician
2.
intended to be: would-be generosity
noun
3.
(derogatory) a person who wants or professes to be something that he is not
4.
(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
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9
11
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