Meaning of “want” in the English Dictionary

"want" in 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!

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.

More 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.


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.

want verb [ I/T ] (NEED)

to need something:

[ I ] You want to be careful to stay out of the sun.
noun [ C/U ] us /wɑnt, wɔnt/

[ C ] A cat’s wants are few – food and companionship.

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “want” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)