Want vs wont

Want and wont are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words want and wont, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Want, when used as a noun, means a lack of something or a desire for something. Want, when used as a verb, means to desire something or to wish for something. In British English, want may mean that something needs attention. Related words are wants, wanted, wanting. The word want is derived from the Old Norse word, vant, which means lacking.

Wont describes a usual behavior, a habitual behavior, or to become accustomed to a habitual behavior. Wont may be used as a noun, adjective or verb; related words are wonts, wonted, wonting. Wont comes from the Old English word, gewunod, in the past participle, wunian, which means to dwell or to become accustomed.

Examples

A majority of Americans want more U.S. diplomatic engagement and a plurality want fewer U.S. troops stationed abroad, according to a survey taken as the chaotic U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan took place. (Reuters)

The findings appear to suggest that most voters in Minneapolis want a better or different police department, but not a department with fewer officers. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Instead, Merkel has, in the cloaked and understated way that is her wont, snubbed Biden twice. (Bloomberg)

As he is wont to do, Russell Wilson took the blame for Sunday’s Seahawks loss in a press conference coiled around his desire for eternal optimism. (Sports Illustrated)