See also: Want, Wänt, wa'n't, and wan't

English

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Etymology 1

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From Middle English wanten (to lack), from Old Norse vanta (to lack), from Proto-Germanic *wanatōną (to be wanting, lack), from *wanô (lack, deficiency), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁weh₂- (empty). Cognate with Middle High German wan (not full, empty), Middle Dutch wan (empty, poor), Old English wana (want, lack, absence, deficiency), Latin vanus (empty). See wan, wan-.

Alternative forms

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Pronunciation

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Verb

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want (third-person singular simple present wants, present participle wanting, simple past and past participle wanted)

  1. (transitive) To wish for or desire (something); to feel a need or desire for; to crave or demand. [from 18th c.]
    What do you want to eat?  I want you to leave.  I never wanted to go back to live with my mother.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XIII, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      And Vickers launched forth into a tirade very different from his platform utterances. He spoke with extreme contempt of the dense stupidity exhibited on all occasions by the working classes. He said that if you wanted to do anything for them, you must rule them, not pamper them. Soft heartedness caused more harm than good.
    • 2013 July-August, Henry Petroski, “Geothermal Energy”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 4:
      Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame. With more settled people, animals were harnessed to capstans or caged in treadmills to turn grist into meal.
    • 2016, VOA Learning English (public domain)
      I want to find a supermarket. — Oh, okay. The supermarket is at 1500 Irving Street. It is near the apartment. — Great!
      Audio (US):(file)
    1. (by extension) To make it easy or tempting to do something undesirable, or to make it hard or challenging to refrain from doing it.
      The game developers of Candy Crush want you to waste large, copious amounts of your money on in-game purchases to buy boosters and lives.
      Depression wants you to feel like the world is dark and that you are not worthy of happiness. The first step to making your life better from this day forward is to stop believing these lies.
  2. (transitive, in particular) To wish, desire, or demand to see, have the presence of or do business with.
    Ma’am, you are exactly the professional we want for this job.
    Danish police want him for embezzlement.
    • 2010, Fred Vargas, The Chalk Circle Man, Vintage Canada, →ISBN, page 75:
      But now it's different, if the police want him for murder.
  3. (intransitive) To desire (to experience desire); to wish.
    You can leave if you want.
    • 2019 May 5, "The Last of the Starks", Game of Thrones season 8 episode 4 (written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss):
      TYRION: You don't want it?
      BRAN: I don't really want anymore.
  4. (colloquial, usually second person, often future tense) To be advised to do something (compare should, ought).
    You’ll want to repeat this three or four times to get the best result.
  5. (transitive, now colloquial) To lack and be in need of or require (something, such as a noun or verbal noun). [from 15th c.]
    • 1741, The Gentleman's and London Magazine: Or Monthly Chronologer, 1741-1794, page 559:
      The lady, it is said, will inherit a fortune of three hundred pounds a year, with two cool thousands left by an uncle, on her arriving at the age of twenty-one, of which she wants but a few months.
    • 1839, Chambers's Journal, page 123:
      Oh Jeanie, it will be hard, after every thing is ready for our happiness, if we should be sundered. It wants but a few days o' Martinmas, and then I maun enter on my new service on Loch Rannoch, where a bonny shieling is ready ...
    • 1847, The American Protestant, page 27:
      In this we have just read an address to children in England, Ireland, and Scotland, in behalf of children who want food to keep them from starvation.
    • 1865 November (indicated as 1866), Lewis Carroll [pseudonym; Charles Lutwidge Dodgson], “A Mad Tea-Party”, in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, London: Macmillan and Co., →OCLC, page 96:
      “Your hair wants cutting,” said the Hatter. He had been looking at Alice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.
    • 1922 October 26, Virginia Woolf, chapter II, in Jacob’s Room, Richmond, London: [] Leonard & Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, →OCLC; republished London: The Hogarth Press, 1960, →OCLC, page 22:
      The mowing-machine always wanted oiling. Barnet turned it under Jacob's window, and it creaked—creaked, and rattled across the lawn and creaked again.
    That chair wants fixing.
  6. (transitive, now rare) To have occasion for (something requisite or useful); to require or need.
  7. (intransitive, dated) To be lacking or deficient or absent. [from 13th c.]
    There was something wanting in the play.
    • 1625, [Samuel] Purchas, Purchas His Pilgrimes. [], (please specify |part=1 to 5), London: [] William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, [], →OCLC, page 404:
      They of the Citie fought valiantly with Engines, Darts, Arrows: and when Stones wanted, they threw Silver, especially molten silver.
    • a. 1701 (date written), John Dryden, “Preface”, in The Miscellaneous Works of John Dryden, [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to IV), London: [] J[acob] and R[ichard] Tonson, [], published 1760, →OCLC:
      The disposition, the manners, and the thoughts are all before it; where any of those are wanting or imperfect, so much wants or is imperfect in the imitation of human life.
    • 1711 May, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Criticism, London: [] W. Lewis []; and sold by W. Taylor [], T[homas] Osborn[e] [], and J. Graves [], →OCLC:
      For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find / What wants in blood and spirits, swelled with wind.
  8. (intransitive, dated) To be in a state of destitution; to be needy; to lack.
    The paupers desperately want.
  9. (transitive, archaic) To lack and be without, to not have (something). [from 13th c.]
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, →OCLC, partition 2, section 3, member 7:
      he that hath skill to be a pilot wants a ship; and he that could govern a commonwealth [] wants means to exercise his worth, hath not a poor office to manage.
    • 1711 July 15 (Gregorian calendar), [Joseph Addison; Richard Steele et al.], “WEDNESDAY, July 4, 1711”, in The Spectator, number 108; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, [], volume II, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, →OCLC:
      I observed [] that your whip wanted a lash to it.
      The spelling has been modernized.
    • 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. [] [Gulliver’s Travels], London: [] Benj[amin] Motte, [], →OCLC, (please specify |part=I to IV), page 141:
      The least miserable among them appear to be those who turn to Dotage, and entirely lose their Memories; these meet with more Pity and Assistance, because they want many bad Qualities which abound in others.
    • 1765, James Merrick, Psalams:
      Not what we wish, but what we want, / Oh, let thy grace supply!
    • 1981, A. D. Hope, “His Coy Mistress to Mr. Marvell”, in A Book of Answers:
      Pray Mr Marvell, can it be / You think to have persuaded me? / Then let me say: you want the art / To woo, much less to win my heart.
    She wanted anything she needed.
  10. (transitive, obsolete, by extension) To lack and perhaps be able or willing to do without.
    • 1625, [Samuel] Purchas, Purchas His Pilgrimes. [], (please specify |part=1 to 5), London: [] William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, [], →OCLC, page 50:
      [] which the Kings of Assyria had left for the maintenance of this Temple sacrifices, after the ouerthrow thereof, was shared among the Chaldzans; which they by this attempt were like to lose, and therefore were willing to want his presence.
    • 1789 Robert Burns: Epigram On Francis Grose The Antiquary
      The Devil got notice that Grose was a-dying
      So whip! at the summons, old Satan came flying;
      But when he approached where poor Francis lay moaning,
      And saw each bed-post with its burthen a-groaning,
      Astonish'd, confounded, cries Satan-"By God,
      I'll want him, ere I take such a damnable load!"
    • 1797, The European Magazine, and London Review, page 226:
      For Law, Physick and Divinitie, need so the help of tongs and sciences, as thei can not want them, and yet thei require so a hole mans studie, as thei may parte with no tyme to other lerning, ...
    • 1880 Robert Louis Stevenson. Kidnapped
      "Are ye sharp-set?" he asked, glancing at about the level of my knee. "Ye can eat that drop parritch."
      I said I feared it was his own supper.
      "Oh," said he, "I can do fine wanting it, I'll take the ale, though, for it slockens my cough." He drank the cup about half out, still keeping an eye upon me as he drank...
  11. To desire a romantic or (especially) sexual relationship with someone; to lust for.
    Dang, girl! Your brother is gorgeous! I want him so bad!
Usage notes
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Conjugation
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Synonyms
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Derived terms
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Descendants
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  • Chinese Pidgin English: wantchee, 灣治 (Chinese spelling)
  • Sranan Tongo: wani
Translations
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Noun

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want (countable and uncountable, plural wants)

  1. (countable) A desire, wish, longing.
  2. (countable, often followed by of) Lack, absence, deficiency.
    She showed a want of caution in renting her house to complete strangers.
  3. (uncountable) Poverty.
  4. Something needed or desired; a thing of which the loss is felt.
    • 1785, William Paley, Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy:
      Habitual superfluities become actual wants.
  5. (UK, mining) A depression in coal strata, hollowed out before the subsequent deposition took place.
Derived terms
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Translations
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Etymology 2

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From Middle English wont (mole),[2] from Old English wand, wond, from Proto-Germanic *wanduz.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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want (plural wants)

  1. (dialectal) A mole (Talpa europea).
    • 1592, John Lyly, Midas; republished in Charles Wentworth Dilke, editor, Old English Plays: Being a Selection from the Early Dramatic Writers[3], volume 1, London: Whittingham and Rowland, 1814:
      Lic. She hath the ears of a want. / Pec. Doth she want ears?

References

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Anagrams

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Afrikaans

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Etymology

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From Dutch want, from Middle Dutch want, from Old Dutch wanda, from Proto-Germanic *hwandē.

Pronunciation

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Conjunction

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want

  1. for, because

Dutch

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Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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From Middle Dutch want, from Old Dutch wanda, from Proto-Germanic *hwandê. Cognate with Old High German wanta, Middle High German wante.

Conjunction

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want

  1. for, because, as
    Hij had haast, want hij dreigde de trein te missen.
    He was in a hurry, for he was about to miss the train.
    Ze ging vroeg naar bed, want ze was erg moe.
    She went to bed early, because she was very tired.
    Hij gaf haar bloemen, want hij wilde haar laten glimlachen.
    He gave her flowers, as he wanted to make her smile.
Synonyms
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Hyponyms
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Descendants
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See also
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Etymology 2

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From Middle Dutch want, from Old Dutch *want, from Frankish *wantu, from Proto-Germanic *wantuz.

Noun

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want f (plural wanten, diminutive wantje n)

  1. A mitten, type of glove in which four fingers get only one section, besides the thumb.
    Hypernym: handschoen
    Tijdens de winter droeg ze een paar wanten om haar handen warm te houden.
    During the winter, she wore a pair of mittens to keep her hands warm.
    De kinderen verloren hun wanten in de sneeuw tijdens het spelen.
    The children lost their mittens in the snow while playing.
    Hij breide een schattig wantje voor zijn pasgeboren nichtje.
    He knitted an adorable mitten for his newborn niece.
Derived terms
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Descendants
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Etymology 3

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From Middle Dutch want, gewant, from Old Dutch *giwant, from Proto-Germanic *gawandą, from the root of winden.

Noun

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want n (plural wanten, diminutive wantje n)

  1. A course type of woolen fabric; anything made from it.
  2. The rigging, ropes supporting masts and sails aboard a ship. shroud, sideways support for a mast.
    Synonyms: touwwerk, wantwerk
  3. Various types of nets and snares for fishing, hunting or farming.
  4. Horse tackle.
Derived terms
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- concerning rigging

Etymology 4

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See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.

Verb

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want

  1. inflection of wannen:
    1. second/third-person singular present indicative
    2. (archaic) plural imperative

Middle Dutch

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Etymology 1

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from Old Dutch wanda, from Proto-Germanic *hwandē.

Conjunction

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want

  1. because, for
Descendants
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Etymology 2

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From Old Dutch *want, from Frankish *wantu.

Noun

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want m

  1. A glove, mitten.
Inflection
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This noun needs an inflection-table template.

Descendants
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Further reading

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Old High German

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Etymology 1

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From Proto-Germanic *wanduz (stick, rod; barrier made of sticks, fence), whence also Old Norse vǫndr, Gothic 𐍅𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌿𐍃 (wandus).

Noun

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want f

  1. a wall
Descendants
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Etymology 2

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Verb

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want

  1. first/third-person singular past indicative of wintan

Tocharian A

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Etymology

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From Proto-Tocharian *wyente, from Post-PIE *h₂weh₁ntos, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂wéh₁n̥ts, from *h₂weh₁- (to blow) (compare English wind, Latin ventus). Compare Tocharian B yente.

Noun

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want

  1. wind

West Frisian

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Alternative forms

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Etymology

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From Old Frisian hwant, hwante, hwande, hwanda, from Proto-Germanic *hwandê.

Conjunction

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want

  1. because

Synonyms

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Yola

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Verb

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want

  1. Alternative form of waunt
    • 1867, “CASTEALE CUDDE'S LAMENTATION”, in SONGS, ETC. IN THE DIALECT OF FORTH AND BARGY, number 1, page 102:
      Dhicka die fan ich want to a mile.
      That day when I went to the mill.
    • 1867, “A YOLA ZONG”, in SONGS, ETC. IN THE DIALECT OF FORTH AND BARGY, number 12, page 88:
      Th' ball want a cowlee, the gazb maate all rize;
      The ball o'er shot the goal, the dust rose all about;

References

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  • Jacob Poole (d. 1827) (before 1828) William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, published 1867, page 102