Difference Between
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Desire vs. Wish: Know the Difference

Hifza Nasir
By Hifza Nasir & Dua Fatima || Updated on March 4, 2024
Desire is a strong feeling of wanting to achieve or possess something, often implying action, whereas a wish is a less intense longing or hope, typically passive in nature. Desire drives behavior; wishes are aspirational.
Desire vs. Wish

Key Differences

Desire is a powerful emotion or feeling that compels individuals to pursue specific goals, objects, or outcomes. It is characterized by a significant level of intensity and a sense of urgency, often leading to action to satisfy the need or want. Desires are deeply rooted in human motivation and can be a driving force behind behaviors and decisions. On the other hand, a wish is a more gentle longing or hope for something that is not immediately attainable or may not involve a concrete plan for attainment. Wishes can be seen as expressions of hope or aspiration without the immediate intention or means to pursue them actively.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024
Desires are typically associated with a clear intention and a willingness to work towards achieving specific outcomes. They are often actionable and can be linked to a person's deeper values and priorities. Whereas, wishes might not lead to direct action or may represent fleeting thoughts or daydreams about scenarios that are desired but not actively pursued. Wishes can be more fantastical or unrealistic, not necessarily grounded in a person's current reality or capabilities.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 03, 2024
Desires can manifest in various aspects of life, including career aspirations, personal relationships, and material possessions. They often require dedication and effort to fulfill, reflecting a deeper commitment to achieving certain objectives. In contrast, wishes might be expressed in moments of contemplation or when imagining ideal scenarios, such as wishing for world peace or for personal happiness, without a specific plan or the means to achieve these outcomes.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024
The distinction between desire and wish also extends to the language and expressions used to communicate these feelings. Expressing a desire often comes with a sense of determination and a readiness to take steps towards fulfillment. For example, someone might say they desire to become a successful entrepreneur, implying a readiness to undertake the challenges involved. On the other hand, stating a wish, such as wishing to win the lottery, often lacks a commitment to action and reflects a passive hope for a favorable outcome without the implication of personal effort.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 03, 2024
Both desires and wishes pertain to wanting or longing for something, the key difference lies in the intensity and propensity to take action. Desires are strong motivators that lead to pursuit and effort, whereas wishes are more about hopeful longing without a direct path to realization.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Intensity

High, with a sense of urgency.
Lower, more passive in nature.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

Action Orientation

Often leads to concrete plans and actions.
Typically lacks a concrete plan for attainment.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 03, 2024

Manifestation

In personal goals, ambitions, and needs.
In ideal scenarios, often without realistic plans.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

Expression

Implies determination and readiness to act.
Reflects hope or aspiration without commitment to action.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 03, 2024

Outcome

Driven by effort and dedication to achieve.
More about hopeful longing, less tied to direct effort.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024
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Desire and Wish Definitions

Desire

A strong feeling of wanting to achieve or possess something.
She has a strong desire to travel the world.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

Wish

A less intense hope or longing for something.
She made a wish to find true love.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

Desire

Rooted in motivation and commitment.
Their desire to improve the community inspired a new charity.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

Wish

Reflects aspiration without direct pursuit.
He wished to be famous, enjoying the idea more than the effort to achieve it.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

Desire

Drives behavior towards a goal.
His desire for knowledge led him to study abroad.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024
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Wish

Typically passive, without immediate plans.
He wished for a better job but hadn't started looking.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 03, 2024

Desire

Often requires action to satisfy.
A desire for success in her career pushed her to work harder.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 03, 2024

Wish

Can be fantastical or unrealistic.
They wished for peace on Earth.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

Desire

Linked to deeper values and priorities.
His desire for a healthy lifestyle motivated his diet and exercise choices.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 03, 2024

Wish

Expressed in moments of contemplation.
Lying under the stars, she wished for happiness.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 03, 2024

Desire

To wish or long for; want
A reporter who desires an interview.
A teen who desires to travel.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

A feeling that one would like to have or do something or to see something happen; a desire, longing, or strong inclination for a specific thing.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

(uncountable) The feeling of desiring; an eager longing for something.
Too much desire can seriously affect one’s judgment.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

An expression of a desire, longing, or strong inclination
Carried out the wishes included in the will.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

Anything which is desired; an object of longing.
The Desire of all nations shall come.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To have or feel a desire
Wish for a successful outcome.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

The feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

A desire, hope, or longing for something or for something to happen.
Have a wish
Make someone's wish come true
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

Expect and wish;
I trust you will behave better from now on
I hope she understands that she cannot expect a raise
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

An expression of such a desire, often connected with ideas of magic and supernatural power.
Make a wish
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

To express a wish for; request.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

(transitive) To desire; to want.
I'll come tomorrow, if you wish it.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

The feeling of wanting to have something or wishing that something will happen.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To desire; to long for; to hanker after; to have a mind or disposition toward.
I would not wishAny companion in the world but you.
I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

An object of such feeling or passion
A quiet evening with you is my only desire.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To recommend; to seek confidence or favor in behalf of.
I would be glad to thrive, sir,And I was wished to your worship by a gentleman.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

(Archaic) A request or petition.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

(usually plural) a polite expression of desire for someone's welfare;
Give him my kind regards
My best wishes
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

To want; to wish for earnestly.
I desire to speak with you.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

The particular preference that you have;
It was his last wish
They should respect the wishes of the people
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

To put a request to (someone); to entreat.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

Prefer or wish to do something;
Do you care to try this dish?
Would you like to come along to the movies?
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

To express a wish for; to entreat; to request.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

Make or express a wish;
I wish that Christmas were over
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

To require; to demand; to claim.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

Order politely; express a wish for
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

(countable) Someone or something wished for.
It is my desire to speak with you.
You’re my heart’s desire.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

An expression of desire for the happiness or success of another
Sent me his best wishes.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

To long for; to wish for earnestly; to covet.
Neither shall any man desire thy land.
Ye desire your child to live.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

Something desired or longed for
Finally got his wish to see the ocean.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

The natural longing that is excited by the enjoyment or the thought of any good, and impels to action or effort its continuance or possession; an eager wish to obtain or enjoy.
Unspeakable desire to see and know.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To long for; want.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

An expressed wish; a request; petition.
And slowly was my mother broughtTo yield consent to my desire.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To feel or express a desire for
I wish them good luck. He wished her good night.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

Excessive or morbid longing; lust; appetite.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To order, entreat, or request
I wish you to go. I wish it to be known that I disagree.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

An inclination to want things;
A man of many desires
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To desire (something bad) to happen to someone
I would not wish such an illness on anyone.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

Something that is desired
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To express a wish.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

Feel or have a desire for; want strongly;
I want to go home now
I want my own room
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

The thing desired or longed for.
My dearest wish is to see them happily married.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

Express a desire for
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To hope (+ object clause with may or in present subjunctive).
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

An instance of this feeling
She had a lifelong desire to visit China.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To hope (for a particular outcome), even if that outcome is unlikely to occur or cannot occur.
I wish I could go back in time and teach myself what I know now.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Desire

To express a wish for; to entreat; to request.
Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord?
Desire him to go in; trouble him no more.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

(ditransitive) To bestow (a thought or gesture) towards (someone or something).
We wish you a Merry Christmas.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To request or desire to do an activity.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

(transitive) To recommend; to seek confidence or favour on behalf of.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

To have a desire or yearning; to long; to hanker.
They cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.
This is as good an argument as an antiquary could wish for.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

An expression of some desire or inclination;
I could tell that it was his wish that the guests leave
His crying was an indirect request for attention
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

Hope for; have a wish;
I wish I could go home now
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

Have in mind;
I will take the exam tomorrow
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Wish

Feel or express a desire or hope concerning the future or fortune of
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Oct 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Why is understanding the difference between desire and wish important?

Understanding the difference helps in recognizing which feelings are likely to motivate action and which are more reflective or aspirational, aiding in personal goal setting and achievement.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 03, 2024

Do desires always lead to happiness?

Not always; while fulfilling a desire can bring satisfaction, it's also important to align desires with one's values and long-term happiness.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

Can a wish become a desire?

Yes, a wish can evolve into a desire if it becomes a stronger motivation that compels a person to take action.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 03, 2024

What is a wish?

A wish is a hope or longing for something without the immediate intention or means to pursue it actively.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

How do desires differ from wishes in terms of action?

Desires typically lead to concrete plans and actions towards attainment, whereas wishes are more passive, often lacking a plan for realization.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

How can someone turn a wish into a desire?

By developing a clear plan, increasing motivation, and taking actionable steps towards the wish, making it a more concrete goal or desire.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

What is a desire?

A desire is a strong feeling of wanting to achieve or possess something, often leading to action.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 03, 2024

How do cultural perceptions of desire and wish differ?

Cultural perceptions can vary, with some cultures placing more emphasis on the importance of pursuing desires actively, while others may value the contemplative aspect of wishing.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

Is it possible to achieve every desire and wish?

While not every desire or wish can be realistically achieved, prioritizing and taking actionable steps can lead to the fulfillment of many goals.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

How do desires influence decision-making?

Desires strongly influence decision-making by guiding priorities, motivating choices towards desired outcomes, and shaping personal and professional paths.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

Is it normal to have both desires and wishes?

Absolutely, it's normal and healthy to have both; desires drive us to achieve goals, while wishes can inspire hope and imagination.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

What role do desires play in personal growth?

Desires can be powerful motivators for personal development, driving individuals to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 03, 2024

What is the psychological basis of desire and wish?

Desire and wish stem from the human capacity for emotion, motivation, and projection into the future, reflecting our needs, hopes, and aspirations.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 03, 2024

How can expressing wishes and desires positively affect mental health?

Expressing wishes and desires can provide clarity, inspire action, and foster hope and motivation, contributing to overall mental well-being.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 03, 2024

Can focusing too much on wishes be detrimental?

Excessive focus on wishes without action can lead to dissatisfaction if it prevents individuals from taking steps towards achievable goals.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 03, 2024

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Hifza Nasir
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Dua Fatima
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