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desire definition


This page has 12 definitions of desire in English, Italian, and Middle English. Desire is a verb and noun. Examples of how to use desire in a sentence are shown. Also define these 9 related words and terms: want, request, entreat, miss, regret, motivation, poetic, desire, and desiderio.

See also: désire, désiré, Désiré, and Desiré

English desire definition


From Middle English desire (noun) and desiren (verb), from Old French desirer, desirrer, from Latin dēsīderō (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.



desire (third-person singular simple present desires, present participle desiring, simple past and past participle desired)

  1. To want; to wish for earnestly.
    I desire to speak with you.
  2. To put a request to (someone); to entreat.
  3. To want emotionally or sexually.
    She has desired him since they first met.
  4. To express a wish for; to entreat; to request.
  5. To require; to demand; to claim.
    • c. 1580, Edmund Spenser, The Teares of the Muses
      A doleful case desires a doleful song.
  6. To miss; to regret.
    • 1673, Jeremy Taylor, Heniaytos: A Course of Sermons for All the Sundays of the Year []
      She shall be pleasant while she lives, and desired when she dies.

Related terms



desire (usually uncountable, plural desires)

  1. (countable) Someone or something wished for.
    • 2013 June 7, David Simpson, “Fantasy of navigation”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 36:
      It is tempting to speculate about the incentives or compulsions that might explain why anyone would take to the skies in [the] basket [of a balloon]: perhaps out of a desire to escape the gravity of this world or to get a preview of the next; […].
    It is my desire to speak with you.
    You’re my heart’s desire.
  2. (uncountable) Strong attraction, particularly romantic or sexual.
    His desire for her kept him awake at night.
  3. (uncountable) The feeling of desiring; an eager longing for something.
    Too much desire can seriously affect one’s judgment.
  4. (uncountable) Motivation. (Can we add an example for this sense?)



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also

Related terms

Further reading


Italian desire definition

Alternative forms


From Old Occitan dezire.


  • IPA(key): /deˈzi.re/
  • Rhymes: -ire
  • Hyphenation: de‧sì‧re


desire m (plural desiri)

  1. (poetic, archaic) desire
    Synonym: desiderio
    • Desiderio definition
      wish, desire, longing

Related terms


  • desire in Treccani.it – Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana

Middle English desire definition



  1. desire
    • 1470–1483 (date produced), Thomas Malory, “[The Tale of King Arthur]”, in Le Morte Darthur (British Library Additional Manuscript 59678), [England: s.n.], folio 35, recto, lines 27–29:
      and ſo Merlyon wente forthe vnto kyng lodegean of Camylerde and tolde hym of the deſire of the kyng that þt he wolde haue vnto his wyff Gwenyu[er] his douȝt[er]
      (please add an English translation of this quote)