W w


    • US Pronunciation
    • US IPA
    • UK Pronunciation
    • UK IPA
    • [won-uh-bee, waw-nuh‐]
    • /ˈwɒn əˌbi, ˈwɔ nə‐/
    • /ˈwɒn.ə.bi/
    • US Pronunciation
    • US IPA
    • [won-uh-bee, waw-nuh‐]
    • /ˈwɒn əˌbi, ˈwɔ nə‐/

Definitions of wannabe word

  • noun plural wannabe one who aspires, often vainly, to emulate another's success or attain eminence in some area. 1
  • noun wannabe A person who tries to be like someone else or to fit in with a particular group of people. 1
  • noun wannabe person who aspires 1
  • adjective wannabe would-be, aspiring 1
  • countable noun wannabe If you call someone a wannabe, you are saying in an unkind way that they are trying very hard to be like another person or group of people. 0
  • noun wannabe a person who desires to be, or be like, someone or something else 0

Information block about the term

Origin of wannabe

First appearance:

before 1980
One of the 1% newest English words
1980-85; derivative of (I) wanna be…

Historical Comparancy

Parts of speech for Wannabe


wannabe popularity

A pretty common term. Usually people know it’s meaning, but prefer to use a more spread out synonym. About 62% of English native speakers know the meaning and use word.
Most Europeans know this English word. The frequency of it’s usage is somewhere between "mom" and "screwdriver".

wannabe usage trend in Literature

This diagram is provided by Google Ngram Viewer

Synonyms for wannabe

adjective wannabe

  • aspiring — If you use aspiring to describe someone who is starting a particular career, you mean that they are trying to become successful in it.
  • would-be — wishing or pretending to be: a would-be wit.
  • hopeful — full of hope; expressing hope: His hopeful words stimulated optimism.
  • budding — If you describe someone as, for example, a budding businessman or a budding artist, you mean that they are starting to succeed or become interested in business or art.
  • potential — possible, as opposed to actual: the potential uses of nuclear energy.

noun wannabe

  • aspirant — Someone who is an aspirant to political power or to an important job has a strong desire to achieve it.
  • imitator — to follow or endeavor to follow as a model or example: to imitate an author's style; to imitate an older brother.
  • clone — If someone or something is a clone of another person or thing, they are so similar to this person or thing that they seem to be exactly the same as them.
  • copycat — A copycat crime is committed by someone who is copying someone else.
  • camp follower — If you describe someone as a camp follower, you mean that they do not officially belong to a particular group or movement but support it for their own advantage.

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See also

Matching words

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