Desire vs. Want

What's the Difference?

Desire and want are two closely related concepts, yet they have distinct differences. Desire refers to a strong feeling or longing for something, often driven by emotions or personal preferences. It is an internal motivation that arises from our innermost desires and aspirations. Want, on the other hand, is a more immediate and tangible expression of desire. It represents a specific need or requirement that we feel compelled to fulfill. While desire is more abstract and subjective, want is more concrete and objective. In essence, desire is the underlying force that fuels our wants, making them more focused and actionable.


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DefinitionA strong feeling of wanting to have or do something.To have a desire or wish for something.
IntensityCan range from mild to intense.Can range from mild to intense.
EmotionOften associated with positive emotions.Can be associated with positive or negative emotions.
LongevityCan be short-term or long-term.Can be short-term or long-term.
SpecificityCan be specific or general.Can be specific or general.
OriginCan arise from personal preferences, aspirations, or needs.Can arise from personal preferences, aspirations, or needs.
SubjectivityVaries from person to person.Varies from person to person.
ImportanceCan be of high or low importance.Can be of high or low importance.
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Further Detail


Desire and want are two fundamental aspects of human nature that drive our actions and shape our lives. While desire and want may seem similar at first glance, they possess distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the differences and similarities between desire and want, examining their origins, intensity, fulfillment, and impact on our lives.


Desire and want originate from different sources. Desire often arises from our emotions, passions, and innermost longings. It can be driven by our dreams, aspirations, and the pursuit of personal fulfillment. Want, on the other hand, is often rooted in our material needs and external influences. It can be influenced by societal expectations, cultural conditioning, and the desire for possessions or status.


Desire tends to be more intense and deeply rooted within us compared to want. It can be a burning passion that drives us to take risks, overcome obstacles, and pursue our goals relentlessly. Desire often stems from a strong emotional connection to our dreams and can be a powerful motivator in our lives. Want, on the other hand, is usually less intense and more transient. It represents a temporary longing for something that may not have the same emotional depth as desire.


Desire and want also differ in terms of fulfillment. Desire is often associated with a sense of fulfillment when we achieve or experience what we desire. It brings a deep satisfaction and a feeling of purpose. Fulfilling our desires can lead to personal growth, self-actualization, and a sense of accomplishment. Want, on the other hand, is often associated with temporary satisfaction. Once a want is fulfilled, it may quickly be replaced by another want, as our desires and wants are ever-evolving.

Impact on Life

Desire and want have different impacts on our lives. Desire, with its intense and deeply rooted nature, can shape the trajectory of our lives. It can drive us to make significant life choices, take risks, and pursue our passions. Desire can be a catalyst for personal growth and self-discovery. Want, on the other hand, often has a more immediate impact. It can influence our day-to-day decisions, consumer behavior, and the pursuit of short-term gratification. Want may not have the same transformative power as desire but can still play a role in shaping our lifestyle and priorities.


Despite their differences, desire and want also share some similarities. Both desire and want are inherent aspects of human nature. They reflect our desires for a better life, personal satisfaction, and happiness. Both desire and want can be influenced by external factors such as societal norms, cultural values, and personal experiences. Additionally, both desire and want can be powerful motivators that drive us to take action and strive for improvement.


In conclusion, desire and want are two distinct yet interconnected aspects of human nature. While desire is often driven by our emotions, passions, and innermost longings, want is more closely associated with our material needs and external influences. Desire tends to be more intense, deeply rooted, and fulfilling, while want is often more transient and associated with temporary satisfaction. Both desire and want have an impact on our lives, shaping our choices, priorities, and overall sense of fulfillment. Understanding the attributes of desire and want can help us navigate our desires and wants more consciously, leading to a more purposeful and satisfying life.

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