1 /wIS/ verb
1 WANT STH IMPOSSIBLE (T) to want something to be true although you know it is either impossible or unlikely: wish (that): I wish I didn't have to go to work today. | wish to goodness spoken (=wish very much): I wish to goodness they'd hurry up!
2 WANT TO DO STH (I, T) formal to want to do something: wish to do sth: I wish to make a complaint. | if you wish: You may leave now, if you wish. | (just) as you wish (=used to tell someone you will do what they want): “I'd like it ready by six.” “Just as you wish, sir.”
3 HAPPINESS/LUCK ETC (T) to say that you hope someone will have good luck, a happy life etc: wish sb sth: We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! | Wish me luck! | wish sb well (=hope that good things happen to someone): They wished me well in my new job.
4 I don't wish to interfere/be nosy etc spoken used to show you are sorry if what you are going to say upsets or annoys someone: I don't wish to seem ungrateful, but it's not quite what I expected.
5 I (only) wish I knew spoken used to emphasize that you do not know something, and you wish you did know: “Where on earth have they gone?” “I wish I knew!”
6 I/you wish! spoken used to say that something is not true, but you wish it was: “Oh no, you're quite thin really.” “I wish!”
7 wouldn't wish sth on/upon sb spoken used to say that something is very unpleasant: It's so painful, you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy, honestly!
wish for sth phrasal verb (T)
1 the best/nicest etc that you would wish for used to emphasize that something is as good, nice etc as it could possibly be: It was as fine an afternoon as you could wish for. | He had everything a child could possibly wish for.
2 (I) to ask silently for something you want and hope that it will happen: Her only hope now was to wish for a miracle.
wish sth away phrasal verb (T) to want something unpleasant to disappear, without doing anything about it: You can't just wish your problems away, you know! USAGE NOTE: WISH WORD CHOICE: wish, want In sentences where both can be used, wish sounds much more formal than want. In a conversation you might say: I want to write to him but I don't know his address. | They want us to come to dinner. But speaking officially you might say: You may leave if you wish. You are more likely to see wish on official forms and notices. GRAMMAR An infinitive after wish, want, or hope must always have to with it: I want/hope to see you soon (NOT... want see you...) | I wish to speak (NOT wish speak). Wish and hope, unlike want, are not used with a direct object: Everybody wants a happy life (NOT wishes or hopes, but you could say: Everybody wishes to have a happy life | hopes for a happy life). Wish and hope (but NOT want) are both used with that clauses, but the verbs in them usually have to be in different tenses: I hope (that) you will be happy (NOT wish or want). | I wish (that) you could be happy. (For the difference in meaning see hope WORD CHOICE These are the main tenses used after wish: If you wish a particular situation existed at this moment, you use the past tense: I wish I knew/had my own house. | He wished it were Tuesday already. In informal British English it is common to use was instead of were in sentences like the last, but in American English was would be considered incorrect here. If you wish a situation would exist in the future, you use could:I wish I could have my own house. (NOT I wish I'll have my own house or I wish I would... or I wish if I could...). If you wish a situation had existed or something had happened in the past you use the past perfect. I wish I had been alive in the twenties. | I wish I'd had a chance to talk to you before you left. If you wish something would happen at this moment or at some time in the future, you use would or could: I wish you could/would come (could =but something is stopping you; would =but you don't want to). | He wished the problem could be solved (NOT ...problem be solved). | I wish you wouldn't go out every night. 2 noun (C)
1 DESIRE a feeling of wanting to do something, or wanting something to happen: It's important to respect the wishes of the patient. | a wish to do sth: She had expressed a wish to see the children.
2 THING YOU WANT something that you want to have or to happen: She wanted a new bike for Christmas, and she got her wish. | the wishes of the majority | dearest/greatest wish (=what you want most of all): His dearest wish was to become a father. | sb's wish is granted/fulfilled (=they get what they want) | sb's wish comes true (=they get what they want, especially in a surprising and unexpected way) | last wish/dying wish (=something that you say you want just before you die)
3 against sb's wishes if you do something against someone's wishes, you do it even though you know they do not want you to: She had left school against her mother's wishes. | go against sb's wishes (=do something against their wishes)
4 have no wish to do sth formal used to emphasize that you do not want or intend to do something: I have no wish to speak to her ever again.
5 best wishes
a) used in cards to say that you hope someone will be happy: best wishes for your married life
b) used as a greeting at the end of a letter
6 SILENT REQUEST a silent request for something to happen as if by magic: make a wish: I closed my eyes and made a wish.
7 your wish is my command especially humorous used to say that you will do whatever someone asks you to do

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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