• Desire


    • GenAm IPA: /dɪˈzaɪɹ/
    • RP IPA: /dɪˈzaɪə/
    • Rhymes: -aɪə(ɹ)


    From Middle English desiren, from Old French desir(r)er, from Latin desidero ("to long for, desire, feel the want of, miss, regret"), apparently from de- + sidus (in the phrase de sidere, "from the stars") in connection with astrological hopes. Compare consider. Compare also desiderate.

    Full definition of desire


    1. To want; to wish for earnestly.
      I desire to speak with you.
      • Bible, Exodus xxxiv. 24Neither shall any man desire thy land.
      • TennysonYe desire your child to live.
    2. To put a request to (someone); to entreat.
      • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Acts XIII:And when they founde no cause of deeth in hym, yet desired they Pilate to kyll him.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 2, That the young Mr. Churchills liked—but they did not like him coming round of an evening and drinking weak whisky-and-water while he held forth on railway debentures and corporation loans. Mr. Barrett, however, by fawning and flattery, seemed to be able to make not only Mrs. Churchill but everyone else do what he desired.
    3. To want emotionally or sexually.
      She has desired him since they first met.
    4. To express a wish for; to entreat; to request.
      • Bible, 2 Kings iv. 28Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord?
      • ShakespeareDesire him to go in; trouble him no more.
    5. To require; to demand; to claim.
      • SpenserA doleful case desires a doleful song.
    6. To miss; to regret.
      • Jeremy TaylorShe shall be pleasant while she lives, and desired when she dies.



    (usually uncountable; plural desires)
    1. (countable) Someone or something wished for.
      • 2013-06-07, David Simpson, Fantasy of navigation, It is tempting to speculate about the incentives or compulsions that might explain why anyone would take to the skies in the basket a balloon: perhaps out of a desire to escape the gravity of this world or to get a preview of the next; .
    2. It is my desire to speak with you.
      You’re my heart’s desire.
    3. (uncountable) Strong attraction, particularly romantic or sexual.
      His desire for her kept him awake at night.
    4. (uncountable) Motivation.
    5. (uncountable) The feeling of desire.
      Too much desire can seriously affect one’s judgment.


    Related terms


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