want Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “want” in the English Dictionary

"want" in British English

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wantverb [T]

uk   /wɒnt/  us   /wɑːnt/
  • want verb [T] (WISH)

A1 to wish for a particular thing or plan of action. "Want" is not used in polite requests: I want some chocolate. She wants a meeting with you. He's everything you'd ever want in a man - bright, funny and attractive. [+ to infinitive] What do you want to eat? [+ obj + to infinitive ] Do you want me to take you to the airport? [+ obj + past participle ] This package - do you want it sent today? [+ obj + adj ] Do you want this pie hot? [+ obj + -ing verb ] I don't want you coming in at two a.m., waking me up. You wait - by next year she'll be wanting a bigger house!
Compare
to wish or need someone to be present: Am I wanted at the meeting tomorrow? He is wanted by the police (= they are searching for him).
want in/out of informal
to want to start or stop being involved in something: I want out of the whole venture before it's too late.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • want verb [T] (NEED)

UK to need something: Do you think this soup wants a bit of salt? [+ -ing verb] The wine is in the fridge - it just wants cooling for a couple of minutes. If you ask me that child wants a good slap!
want to UK
used in giving advice to mean that someone should do something: She wants to tell him now, before it's too late. You don't want to put too much pepper in.

wantnoun

uk   /wɒnt/  us   /wɑːnt/
(Definition of want from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"want" in American English

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wantverb [I/T]

 us   /wɑnt, wɔnt/
  • want verb [I/T] (DESIRE)

to feel that you would like to have something or would like something to happen: [T] Who wants ice cream? [T] I want the cold weather to end. [I] She wanted to get new shoes. [T] I don’t want him talking about me. [I] I’ve been wanting to thank you for helping me.
If you are wanted, someone wishes to see or talk with you: [T] Harry! You’re wanted on the phone.
to need something: [I] You want to be careful to stay out of the sun.
want
noun [C/U]  us   /wɑnt, wɔnt/
[C] A cat’s wants are few – food and companionship.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of want from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“want” in American English

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A blazing row: words and phrases for arguing and arguments
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