Meaning of WISH in English

/ wɪʃ; NAmE / verb , noun

■ verb


(not usually used in the present progressive tense) to want sth to happen or to be true even though it is unlikely or impossible :

[ v ( that )]

I wish I were taller.

( BrE also)

I wish I was taller.

I wish I hadn't eaten so much.

'Where is he now?' ' I only wish I knew!'

I wish you wouldn't leave your clothes all over the floor.

HELP NOTE : 'That' is nearly always left out, especially in speech.

[ vn - adj ]

He's dead and it's no use wishing him alive again.

[ vn + adv. / prep. ]

She wished herself a million miles away.


( especially BrE , formal ) to want to do sth; to want sth to happen :

[ v ]

You may stay until morning, if you wish .

'I'd rather not talk now.' ' (Just) as you wish .'

[ v to inf ]

This course is designed for people wishing to update their computer skills.

I wish to speak to the manager.

I don't wish (= I don't mean) to be rude, but could you be a little quieter?

[ vnn ]

She could not believe that he wished her harm.

[ vn to inf ]

He was not sure whether he wished her to stay or go.


[ v ] wish (for sth) to think very hard that you want sth, especially sth that can only be achieved by good luck or magic :

She shut her eyes and wished for him to get better.

If you wish really hard, maybe you'll get what you want.

It's no use wishing for the impossible.

He has everything he could possibly wish for.


to say that you hope that sb will be happy, lucky, etc. :

[ vnn ]

I wished her a happy birthday.

Wish me luck!

[ vn ]

We wish them both well in their retirement.


- I wish!


- wish sth away

- wish sb/sth on sb

■ noun


[ C ] wish (to do sth) | wish (for sth) a desire or a feeling that you want to do sth or have sth :

She expressed a wish to be alone.

He had no wish to start a fight.

I can understand her wish for secrecy.

His dearest wish (= what he wants most of all) is to see his grandchildren again.


[ C ] a thing that you want to have or to happen :

to carry out sb's wishes

I'm sure that you will get your wish.

She married against her parents' wishes .

—see also death wish


[ C ] an attempt to make sth happen by thinking hard about it, especially in stories when it often happens by magic :

Throw some money in the fountain and make a wish .

The genie granted him three wishes.

The prince's wish came true .


wishes [ pl. ] wish (for sth) used especially in a letter or card to say that you hope that sb will be happy, well or successful :

We all send our best wishes for the future.

Give my good wishes to the family.

With best wishes (= for example, at the end of a letter)


- if wishes were horses, beggars would / might ride

- your wish is my command

- the wish is father to the thought




After the verb wish in sense 1, a past tense is always used in a that clause:

Do you wish you (that) you had a better job?

In more formal English, especially in NAmE , many people use were after I, he, she, it instead of was :

I wish he were here tonight.



Old English wӯscan , of Germanic origin; related to German wünschen , also to wont .

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.