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These verbs mean to have a strong longing for: desire peace; coveted the new car; craving fame and fortune; wanted a drink of water; wished that she had gone to the beach.
v. -sired, -sir•ing,
See Also: SEX
- A brief surge of sexual desire that crested and passed like a wave breaking —Paige Mitchell
- Craves love like oxygen —Marge Piercy
- Craving [for a man] … like a cigarette smoker’s who knows his desire is unhealthy, knows that the next puff may set off a chain reaction of catastrophe, but nevertheless cannot by such logic tame the impulse —Paul Reidinger
- Desire had run its course like a long and serious illness —Harvey Swados
- Desire … like the hunger for a definite but hard-to-come-by food —Mary Gordon
- Desire overtook us like a hot, breaking wave —A. E. Maxwell
- Desires are either natural and necessary, like eating and drinking; or natural and not necessary, like intercourse with females; or neither natural or necessary —Michel de Montaigne
- Desires..hurried like the clouds —Elizabeth Bowen
- Desire … swept over her like a flame —Robin McCorquodale
- Dying for … like God for a repentant sinner —Bertold Brecht
- (She is) gasping after love like a carp after water on a kitchen table —Gustave Flaubert
- Her needs stick out all over, like a porcupine’s needles —Emily Listfield
- His need for her was crippling … like a cruel blow at the back of his knees —John Cheever
- How passionate the mating instinct is, like a giant hippo chasing his mate through the underbrush and never stopping till he finally mounts her in the muddy waters of the mighty Amazon —Daniel Asa Rose
- Longing … afflicted her like a toothache —Harold Acton
- Miss like sin —Lael Tucker Wertenbaker
The simile in full context from the novel, Unbidden Guests: “I woke up missing Alex like sin.”
- Miss you like breath —Janet Flanner
- More giddy in my desires than a monkey —William Shakespeare
- My desire for her is so wild I feel as if I’m all liquid —W. P. Kinsella
- A passion finer than lust, as if everything living is moist with her —Daniela Gioseffi
- Worldly desires are like columns of sunshine radiating through a dusty window, nothing tangible, nothing there —Bratzlav Naham
- Yearning radiating from his face like heat from an electric heater —Larry McMurtry
(See also LUST.)
big eyes A great lust or desire for a person or object. This jazz term, in use since the 1950s, may have come from the older, less picturesque to have eyes for ‘to be attracted to or desirous of,’ used as early as 1810 in The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter. Big eyes has a corresponding negative expression, no eyes, also in use since 1950s, meaning ‘lack of desire, or disinclination.’
forbidden fruit A tempting but prohibited object or experience; an unauthorized or illegal indulgence, often of a sexual nature. The Biblical origin of this phrase appears in Genesis 3:3:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
The expression has been used figuratively for centuries.
The stealing and tasting of the forbidden fruit of sovereignty. (James Heath, Flagellum, 1663)
give one’s eyeteeth To gladly make the greatest sacrifice to obtain a desired end; to yield something precious in exchange for the achievement of one’s desire. The eyeteeth, so named because their roots extend to just under the eyes, are the two pointed canines which flank the front teeth of the upper jaw. Since excruciating pain accompanies their extraction, this expression came to imply making a painful sacrifice.
He’d give his eye-teeth to have written a book half as good. (W. S. Maugham, Cakes & Ale, 1930)
give one’s right arm To be willing to make a great sacrifice or to endure great pain or inconvenience; to trade something as irreplaceable as part of one’s body for an object of desire. In our predominantly right-handed society, to forfeit one’s right arm signifies a great loss. This phrase has been popular since the early 1900s. Earlier, in the late 19th century, willing to give one’s ears was a common expression. It is said to allude to the ancient practice of cutting off ears for various offenses.
Many a man would give his ears to be allowed to call two such charming young ladies by their Christian names. (William E. Norris, Thirlby Hall, 1883)
go through fire and water To be willing to suffer pain or brave danger in order to obtain the object of one’s desire; to undergo great sacrifice or pay any price to achieve a desired end; to prove one-self by the most demanding of tests. The expression is thought to derive from ordeals involving fire and water which were common methods of trial in Anglo-Saxon times. To prove their innocence, accused persons were often forced to carry hot bars of iron or to plunge a hand into boiling water without injury. The phrase is now used exclusively in a figurative sense, as illustrated by the following from Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor:
A woman would run through fire and water for such a kind heart. (III, iv)
itching palm Avarice, greed, cupidity; an abnormal desire for money and material possessions, often implying an openness or susceptibility to bribery. The expression apparently arose from the old superstition that a person whose palm itches is about to receive money. The figurative sense of itching ‘an uneasy desire or hankering’ dates from the first half of the 14th century. Shakespeare used the phrase in Julius Caesar:
Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemned to have an itching palm. (IV, iii)
make the mouth water To excite a craving or desire, to cause to anticipate eagerly. This expression has its origin in the stimulation of the salivary glands by the appetizing sight or smell of food. Both literal and figurative uses of the phrase date from the 16th century.
[She would] bribe him … to write down the name of a young Scotch peer … that her mouth watered after. (Daniel Defoe, The History of D. Campbell, 1720)
my kingdom for a horse! An expression used when one would gladly trade an obviously valuable possession for one of seemingly lesser worth, usually because the lack of the latter renders the former meaningless or useless. It was the cry of Shakespeare’s Richard III at Bosworth Field:
A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse! (V, iv)
wait for dead men’s shoes To covetously await one ’s inheritance; to eagerly anticipate the position or property that another’s death will bring. This expression, infrequently used today, derives from the former Jewish cusTom’surrounding the transfer or bequeathing of property, as related in Ruth 4:7. A bargain was formally sealed by removing and handing over one’s shoe. Similarly, inheritance due to death was signaled by pulling off the dead man’s shoes and giving them to his heir. Dead men’s shoes was often used alone to indicate the property so bequeathed or so awaited.
yen A craving or strong desire; a yearning, longing, or hankering. One theory regarding the origin of this expression claims that yen is a corruption of the Chinese slang term yan ‘a craving, as for opium or drink.’ Another theory states that yen is probably an altered form of yearn or yearning. The term dates from at least 1908.
Ever get a yen to “take off” a day or two and see the country? (Capital-Democrat [Tishomingo, Oklahoma], June, 1948)
Desire can be a noun or a verb.
A desire is a feeling that you want something or want to do something. You usually talk about a desire for something or a desire to do something.
If you desire something, you want it. This is a formal or literary use.
Past participle: desired
|Noun||1.||desire - the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state|
feeling - the experiencing of affective and emotional states; "she had a feeling of euphoria"; "he had terrible feelings of guilt"; "I disliked him and the feeling was mutual"
bloodlust - a desire for bloodshed
temptation - the desire to have or do something that you know you should avoid; "he felt the temptation and his will power weakened"
craving - an intense desire for some particular thing
wish, wishing, want - a specific feeling of desire; "he got his wish"; "he was above all wishing and desire"
|2.||desire - an inclination to want things; "a man of many desires"|
tendency, inclination - a characteristic likelihood of or natural disposition toward a certain condition or character or effect; "the alkaline inclination of the local waters"; "fabric with a tendency to shrink"
hunger, thirst, thirstiness, hungriness - strong desire for something (not food or drink); "a thirst for knowledge"; "hunger for affection"
greed - excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves
|3.||desire - something that is desired|
arousal - a state of heightened physiological activity
|Verb||1.||desire - feel or have a desire for; want strongly; "I want to go home now"; "I want my own room"|
take to, fancy, go for - have a fancy or particular liking or desire for; "She fancied a necklace that she had seen in the jeweler's window"
miss - feel or suffer from the lack of; "He misses his mother"
hope - be optimistic; be full of hope; have hopes; "I am still hoping that all will turn out well"
wish - hope for; have a wish; "I wish I could go home now"
like, wish, care - prefer or wish to do something; "Do you care to try this dish?"; "Would you like to come along to the movies?"
itch, spoil - have a strong desire or urge to do something; "She is itching to start the project"; "He is spoiling for a fight"
like - want to have; "I'd like a beer now!"
ambition - have as one's ambition
feel like - have an inclination for something or some activity; "I feel like staying in bed all day"; "I feel like a cold beer now"
seek - try to get or reach; "seek a position"; "seek an education"; "seek happiness"
|2.||desire - expect and wish; "I trust you will behave better from now on"; "I hope she understands that she cannot expect a raise"|
wish - hope for; have a wish; "I wish I could go home now"
|3.||desire - express a desire for|
"We do not succeed in changing things according to our desire, but gradually our desire changes" [Marcel Proust Remembrance of Things Past]
"There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it" [George Bernard Shaw Man and Superman]
"Other women cloy"
"The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry"
"Where most she satisfies" [William Shakespeare Antony and Cleopatra]
"If you desire many things, many things will seem but a few" [Benjamin Franklin Poor Richard's Almanack]
desire for sth → envie de qch
desire to do sth → envie de faire qch
one's heart's desire (literary) → le plus cher désir de qn
I have no desire to see him → non ho nessuna voglia di vederlo