Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Desiring, attempting, or professing to be: "Would-be home buyers will have a somewhat easier time getting loans” ( Wall Street Journal).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. attempting or desiring something
  • adj. unfulfilled or frustrated in realizing an ambition

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Desiring or professing to be; vainly pretending to be.

from The 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. unfulfilled or frustrated in realizing an ambition

Etymologies

From would + be. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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