want

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

English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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-.

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (transitive) To wish for or to desire (something). [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.  I want to be an astronaut when I'm older.  I don't want him to marry Gloria, I want him to marry me!  What do you want from me?  Do you want anything from the shops?
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 13, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      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.
  2. (intransitive, now dated) To be lacking, not to exist. [from 13th c.]
    There was something wanting in the play.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Dryden
      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.
  3. (transitive) To lack, not to have (something). [from 13th c.]
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069:, II.3.7:
      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.
    • (Can we date this quote?) James Merrick
      Not what we wish, but what we want, / Oh, let thy grace supply!
    • (Can we date this quote?) Addison
      I observed that your whip wanted a lash to it.
  4. (transitive, colloquially with verbal noun as object) To be in need of; to require (something). [from 15th c.]
    • 1866, Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 7:
      “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, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room, Chapter 2:
      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.
  5. (intransitive, dated) To be in a state of destitution; to be needy; to lack.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Ben Jonson
      You have a gift, sir (thank your education), / Will never let you want.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Alexander Pope
      For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find / What wants in blood and spirits, swelled with wind.

Usage notes[edit]

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

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want (countable and uncountable, plural wants)

  1. (countable) A desire, wish, longing.
  2. (countable, often followed by of) Lack, absence.
    • c. 1591, William Shakespeare, King Henry VI Part 2, act 4, sc. 8:
      [H]eavens and honour be witness, that no want of resolution in me, but only my followers' base and ignominious treasons, makes me betake me to my heels.
    • (Can we date this quote?) For Want of a Nail:
      For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
      For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
      For want of a horse the rider was lost.
      For want of a rider the battle was lost.
      For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
      And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
  3. (uncountable) Poverty.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Jonathan Swift
      Nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches, as to conceive how others can be in want.
  4. Something needed or desired; a thing of which the loss is felt.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Paley
      Habitual superfluities become actual wants.
  5. (Britain, mining) A depression in coal strata, hollowed out before the subsequent deposition took place.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  • want at OneLook Dictionary Search

Statistics[edit]

Most common English words before 1923 in Project Gutenberg: quite · brought · woman · #232: want · home · whose · words

Anagrams[edit]


Afrikaans[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

Conjunction[edit]

want

  1. for, because

Dutch[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

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

Conjunction[edit]

want

  1. for, because
    Hij komt niet, want hij is ziek. — He is not coming, because he is sick. (Note: The order is SVO after want.)
Synonyms[edit]
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

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

Noun[edit]

want f (plural wanten, diminutive wantje n)

  1. mitten

Etymology 3[edit]

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

Noun[edit]

want n (plural wanten, diminutive wantje n)

  1. shroud, sideways support for a mast.

Etymology 4[edit]

Non-lemma forms.

Verb[edit]

want

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

Middle Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

Conjunction[edit]

want

  1. because, for

Descendants[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • want (III)”, in Vroegmiddelnederlands Woordenboek, 2000
  • want (I)”, in Middelnederlandsch Woordenboek, 1929

Old High German[edit]

Noun[edit]

want f

  1. wall

Descendants[edit]


Tocharian A[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Proto-Tocharian *w'entë, from Post-PIE *h₂weh₁ntos, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂wéh₁nts, from *h₂weh₁- (to blow) (compare English wind, Latin ventus). Compare Tocharian B yente.

Noun[edit]

want

  1. wind