Definition of want noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//wɒnt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//wɑːnt//
    , NAmE//wɔːnt//
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    something you need
  1. 1[countable, usually plural] something that you need or want She spent her life pandering to the wants of her children.
  2. lack
  3. 2[uncountable, singular] want of something (formal) a situation in which there is not enough of something; a lack of something a want of adequate medical facilities
  4. being poor
  5. 3[uncountable] (formal) the state of being poor, not having food, etc. Visitors to the slums were clearly shocked to see so many families living in want.
  6. Word OriginMiddle English: the noun from Old Norse vant, neuter of vanr ‘lacking’; the verb from Old Norse vanta ‘be lacking’. The original notion of “lack” was early extended to “need” and from this developed the sense ‘desire’.Extra examples Society can’t satisfy all human wants. Thousands of children are living in want. a society that satisfied all human wants The snail does not need to travel far to satisfy all its bodily wants. There is a want of adequate medical facilities. We call our music ‘postmodern’ for want of a better word.Idioms
    for (the) want of something
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    because of a lack of something; because something is not available The project failed for want of financial backing. We call our music ‘postmodern’ for the want of a better word. We went for a walk for want of something better to do.
    (formal) needing something The present system is in want of a total review.
    not for (the) want of doing something
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    used to say that if something is not successful, it is not because of a lack of effort If he doesn't manage to convince them, it won't be for want of trying (= he has tried hard).
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: want