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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Single word for 'don't want'|
|Question:||Hello, I am not, by any means, a linguist. My first language is English, and I have studied Spanish in high school and college but cannot speak it fluently. I have also dabbled in other languages in my free time, to no avail. I am searching for a single word to express ''don't want''. I have failed to find it in English, and Spanish seems to be a 2 word phrase also. (no quiero). Thank you for your consideration of my question, and I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Noah Phillips|
|Reply:||One part of the problem of finding a one-word synonym for "don’t want" is that the verb "want" has multiple meanings that depend on context; a second issue is that it is a “catenative” verb—one that combines with "to" to form a modal-like form "wanna," e.g., "I wanna go to the movies." Regular modals don’t have one-word antonyms, either, except when contracted, as in "couldn’t," "can’t," "won’t," "shouldn’t." Possible antonyms for some of the meanings of "want" do exist, of course, and among these are "scorn," "decline," and "refuse," but none shares the informality or generality of "don't want," so they are not true equivalents.|
|Reply From:||Marilyn N Silva click here to access email|