Seek vs Wish - What's the difference?

seek | wish |

As verbs the difference between seek and wish

is that seek is (lb) to try to find, to look for, to search while wish is (label) to desire; to want.

As a noun wish is

a desire, hope, or longing for something or for something to happen.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?




  • (lb) To try to find, to look for, to search.
  • :
  • *{{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=July-August, author= Catherine Clabby
  • , magazine=(American Scientist), title= Focus on Everything , passage=Not long ago, it was difficult to produce photographs of tiny creatures with every part in focus.
  • (label) To inquire for; to ask for; to solicit; to beseech.
  • :
  • *Bible, (w) xi. 16
  • *:Others, tempting him, sought of him a sign.
  • *1960 , (Lobsang Rampa), :
  • *:“My, my! It is indeed a long way yet, look you!” said the pleasant woman of whom I sought directions.
  • (lb) To try to acquire or gain; to strive after; to aim at.
  • :
  • *1880 , , :
  • *:But persecution sought the lives of men of this character.
  • *1886 , Constantine Popoff, translation of (Leo Tolstoy)'s :
  • *:I can no longer seek fame or glory, nor can I help trying to get rid of my riches, which separate me from my fellow-creatures.
  • *
  • *:Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes.She put back a truant curl from her forehead where it had sought egress to the world, and looked him full in the face now, drawing a deep breath which caused the round of her bosom to lift the lace at her throat.
  • To go, move, travel (in a given direction).
  • :
  • *, Bk.V:
  • *:Ryght so he sought towarde Sandewyche where he founde before hym many galyard knyghtes
  • (lb) To try to reach or come to; to go to; to resort to.
  • *:
  • *:Seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.
  • *1726 (tr.), (Alexander Pope), ''(Homer)'s (Odyssey), Book II, line 33
  • *:Since great Ulysses sought the Phrygian plains
  • Quotations


    * look for * search

    Derived terms

    * (l) * (l) * (l) * (l) * (l)




  • a desire, hope, or longing for something or for something to happen
  • an expression of such a desire etc.
  • the process of expressing or thinking about such a desire etc. (often connected with ideas of magic and supernatural power(s)
  • the thing desired or longed for
  • Your dearest wish will come true.
  • * 1901 , , (w, The Monkey's Paw)
  • "I suppose all old soldiers are the same," said Mrs White. "The idea of our listening to such nonsense! How could wishes be granted in these days? And if they could, how could two hundred pounds hurt you, father?" / "Might drop on his head from the sky," said the frivolous Herbert.
  • (Sussex) a water meadow.
  • Usage notes

    * Collocates with make for the common expression make a wish . See

    Derived terms

    (Terms derived from the noun "wish") * death wish * best wishes * good wishes * make a wish * wishbone * wishful * wish list/wishlist/wish-list * your wish is my command

    See also

    * precatory * velleity


  • (label) To desire; to want.
  • * (William Shakespeare)
  • I would not wish / Any companion in the world but you.
  • *
  • , passage=Yesterday, upon the stair / I met a man who wasn’t there / He wasn’t there again today / I wish', I ' wish he’d go away …}}
  • To hope (for a particular outcome).
  • * (John Arbuthnot) (1667-1735)
  • This is as good an argument as an antiquary could wish for.
  • * 1901 , , (w, The Monkey's Paw)
  • Mr. White took the paw from his pocket and eyed it dubiously. "I don't know what to wish for, and that's a fact," he said slowly. "It seems to me I've got all I want."
  • To bestow (a thought or gesture) towards (someone or something).
  • * (William Shakespeare)
  • I would not wish them to a fairer death.
  • * Bible, (Psalms) xl. 14
  • Let them be driven backward, and put to shame, that wish me evil.
  • To request or desire to do an activity.
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=July-August, author=(Henry Petroski)
  • , title= Geothermal Energy , volume=101, issue=4, magazine=(American Scientist) , passage=Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame. With more settled people, animals were harnessed to capstans or caged in treadmills to turn grist into meal.}}
  • (label) To recommend; to seek confidence or favour on behalf of.
  • * (Ben Jonson)
  • I was wished to your worship by a gentleman.

    Usage notes

    * In sense 3, this is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive . See

    Derived terms

    (Terms derived from the verb "wish") * as you wish * half wish * I wish * unwish * well-wisher * wisher * you wish