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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 wouldbe
Historical Examples
  • Many criminals are acquitted who wouldbe convicted if the penalty were imprisonment.

    Public Speaking Clarence Stratton
  • July 17: A little upset by the episode of the wouldbe assassin, I decided to go up to London for the day.

  • A big word that Mr. wouldbe uses where Mr. Is uses the little word live.

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
British Dictionary definitions for wouldbe

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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