Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] want pronunciation in American English /wɑnt/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participlewanting
past tensewanted
past participlewanted
  1. 1
    to feel that you would like to have, keep, or do something

    Do you still want these old letters?

    want something for something:

    What do you want for your birthday?

    want to do something:

    Liz wants to go to the circus.

    1. a.
      to feel that you would like someone to do something or would like something to happen
      want someone/something to do something:

      Her parents didn't want her to marry him.

      want something of/from someone:

      I wish I knew exactly what they wanted of me.

      want something done:

      Mrs. Miller wants the entire house repainted.

    2. b.
      informal to feel that you would like someone or something to be in a particular place or doing a particular job

      I want those boxes out of the living room by tomorrow!

      We want Stephen as chairman.

    3. c.
      to ask for someone because you would like to see or speak to them

      Mom wants you – she's in the kitchen.

      You're wanted on the telephone.

      The principal wants you in her office after school.

  2. 2
    mainly British to need something

    We desperately want rain.

    You won't want much money on a camping trip.

    1. b.
      British informal to deserve something

      That rascal! He wants a good kick up the backside!

  3. 3
    spoken used for telling someone what they should do

    You want to take Pine Street – it's faster.


See also


a paid holiday given to a new employee before they start their job

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog