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

"wish" in British English

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wishverb

uk   /wɪʃ/ us   /wɪʃ/
  • wish verb (FEEL SORRY)

B1 [I + (that)] used with the past simple to express that you feel sorry or sad about a state or situation that exists at the moment: I wish (that) I was/were a bit taller. I wish (that) you were coming with me, Peter.
B1 [I + (that)] used with the past perfect to express that you feel sorry or sad about a particular action in the past: I wish (that) I hadn't eaten so much. I bet she wishes (that) she'd never got involved in the whole mess.

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  • wish verb (WANT)

B2 [I or T] formal to want to do something: As you wish, Sir. It will be done. [+ to infinitive] I wish to make a complaint. Passengers wishing to take the Kings Cross train should board now. I don't wish to worry you but he did say he'd be back by midnight. [+ obj + adj ] Sometimes I was so depressed that I wished myself dead.
I wish (that)...
used to express anger at someone's behaviour: I wish she'd shut up for a minute and let someone else talk. I wish you'd look at me when I'm trying to talk to you!

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  • wish verb (MAGIC)

[I or T] to hope that something you want will be made real because of good luck or magical powers: [+ that] I remember blowing out the candles on my birthday cake and wishing that John Lee would be my boyfriend. If I could wish myself anywhere in the world (= go anywhere as a result of making a wish) right now it would be somewhere hot and sunny. He's funny, bright, handsome - everything a girl could wish for really. "Your job must be very glamorous." "I wish!" (= not at all.) "By the time I'm 40, I'll be rich." "You wish!" (= There is no chance of that happening.)
  • wish verb (GREET)

[T] Indian English to welcome someone with particular words or a particular action: He wishes me every morning.
Phrasal verbs

wishnoun [C]

uk   /wɪʃ/ us   /wɪʃ/
  • wish noun [C] (WANT)

B2 a feeling of wanting something: [+ to infinitive] Did he express any wish to see me? In accordance with his wishes (= what he wanted), he was buried next to his wife. They've deliberately gone against my wishes and sold the house. [+ that] It was grandpa's greatest wish that one of his grandchildren would become a doctor.

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  • wish noun [C] (GREETING)

wishes
A2 something you say or write at the end of a letter, etc. to show that you hope someone is happy and has good luck: He ended the letter "Best wishes, Carlo". Best wishes for a speedy recovery. With best wishes, Louise Foster. When you see Joyce, please give her my good wishes.
  • wish noun [C] (MAGIC)

C2 a hope that is made real with magical powers: [+ that] If I could have just one wish I suppose it would be that all the fighting in the world would stop tomorrow. Close your eyes and make a wish. It's that part of the story where the fairy grants the little girl three wishes. May all your wishes come true.
(Definition of wish from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"wish" in American English

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wishverb

us   /wɪʃ/
  • wish verb (DESIRE DIFFERENT SITUATION)

[+ (that) clause] to desire some situation that is different from the one that exists: I wish (that) I didn’t have to go to work today. She wished she could afford a new car. I wish I hadn’t eaten so much.
  • wish verb (EXPRESS DESIRE)

[I/T] to hope that you will get something or that something will happen: [I] I was wishing for summer so hard I could almost make it happen at that moment.
  • wish verb (WANT SOMETHING)

fml to want something, or want to do something: [+ to infinitive] If you wish to volunteer to work in the museum, please indicate what department you are interested in.
  • wish verb (EXPRESS KIND FEELINGS)

[T] to express kind feelings for someone on a particular occasion: Don’t forget to wish her a happy birthday. I’m off for the interview now – wish me luck. His old teammates wished him well (= hoped that he did well).
wishes
plural noun us   /ˈwɪʃ·əz/
an expression of kind feelings for someone, esp. on a particular occasion: When you see Joyce, please give her my best wishes.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of wish from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of wish?
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