Meaning of “wish” in the English Dictionary

"wish" in English

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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 (HOPE)

B1 [ T + two objects ] to hope or express hope for another person's success or happiness or pleasure on a particular occasion:

We wish you every success in the future.
I didn't even see her to wish her a happy birthday/wish a happy birthday to her.
I wished her a safe journey and waved her off.
wish sb well

to hope someone will succeed:

I wished him well with his new venture.

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.)

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)


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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us /wɪʃ/


[ + (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.


[ 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).
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.

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