American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Desiring, attempting, or professing to be: "Would-be home buyers will have a somewhat easier time getting loans” ( Wall Street Journal).
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Wishing to be; vainly pretending to be; desirous of being or of being considered: as, a would-be philosopher.
- n. A vain pretender; one who affects to be something which he really is not.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Desiring or professing to be; vainly pretending to be.
- adj. unfulfilled or frustrated in realizing an ambition
- From would + be. (Wiktionary)
“He granted interviews to all the television stations in town and called his would-be assassins maggots.”
“The aging inventor took out newspaper advertisements, calling his would-be rival out.”
“Why, then, did the culture of American renegades get so little praise from the would-be evangelists of democracy?”
“• Perhaps not the best week for bloviators on Fox News to call for the abolition of the US's national weather service just because it's government-funded, but what are we to make of Republican God-botherer and would-be presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's suggestion that the east coast's hurricane was God's way of sending a message to America?”
“During World War 2, a team of would-be German saboteurs landed in Montauk, and were detected but not apprehended by a coast guard sentry, only to fail in their missions, absorbed into society at large.”
“By way of a plot summary, News From Nowhere is also a story about a would-be conqueror who fails in his inchoate mission, specifically, an Argentine loner on the lam, arriving illegally by boat on Montauk's shores.”
“As also befits Morrissey's universe, there are two would-be controlling women with designs on said Adonis, in the aforementioned smuggler and painter who are played respectively by Olga Lirian who appears as herself in Let's Get Lost and factory legend Viva Hoffman, who delivers a line that could be straight from Morrissey's mouth, as she discusses her estate while proposing-slash-propositioning a pre-nup marraige to the Argentine: My father was smart.”
“So, to bring things full circle here, do we have any would-be partygoers out there who can tell us what really happened out on Hollywood Boulevard on July 27, 2011?”
“Critics of these changes predict fallout from veteran teachers opting for early retirement and would-be teachers seeking other career paths.”
“Over time, I'd predict that the ostracizers and would-be converters are more likely to be influenced by their Hindu counterparts than vice versa.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘would-be’.
A roster of adjectives that infrequently surface in typical conversation and writing. Many are dredged from scientific or other technical jargon or sieved from examples of disused archaic forms.
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