Meaning of would-be in English:



  • Desiring or aspiring to be a specified type of person.

    ‘a would-be actress who dresses up as Marilyn Monroe’
    • ‘Making too much of a clamor over the issue could send a wrong signal to the business world and would-be investors.’
    • ‘One other conundrum for the board and would-be investors to contemplate is the question of future leadership.’
    • ‘Knowing that the club would still have a home at which to play would be a massive boost for any would-be investor.’
    • ‘It didn't take long to attract the 30 teams needed, and some eager would-be dragon racers had to be turned away.’
    • ‘They are only following the lead of enterprising would-be gurus in the private sector.’
    • ‘The would-be actress started to become aware of the world in a sluggish, heady mist.’
    • ‘The big sell-off has been mostly a non-event, though not so much for want of would-be buyers.’
    • ‘For all those would-be writers, this is an excellent opportunity to get your story published.’
    • ‘These days, the obstacles facing would-be women pilots are more often financial.’
    • ‘The intention is to make St Lucia a household name and give would-be visitors a new island choice.’
    • ‘At one bank, the queue of would-be buyers was so long that the bank was forced to extend its opening hours.’
    • ‘Even a handbag can be used as a barrier when placed between yourself and any would-be attacker.’
    • ‘The increases are also forcing more poor would-be students to choose another path.’
    • ‘This gesture will go a long way in assuring would-be players that their future is safe.’
    • ‘A problem for would-be suitors would be finding further cost-cutting and synergistic benefits.’
    • ‘In a world filled with would-be Supermen, he was the one man who would be Clark Kent.’
    • ‘And if the club still owned its own ground it would also be a much more attractive proposition to would-be owners.’
    • ‘Rutan's spaceship may not yet be able to hoist loads into orbit, but it will give the ultimate ride to would-be astronauts.’
    • ‘His comments are a tacit admission that the police cannot protect all women from the attentions of would-be attackers.’
    • ‘So, once again, I would caution would-be writers against excessive length.’
    aspiring, budding, promising, prospective, potential, striving, hopeful, optimistic, keen, eager, ambitious, enterprising, wishful, longing
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  • A person who desires or aspires to be a particular type.

    ‘a seemingly endless queue of journalists and would-bes formed’
    • ‘The seriousness of the offence precipitates a very harsh sanction so that other would-bes could be deterred or discouraged from committing a similar offence.’
    • ‘The story of his resistance to ordination is a fine reminder to all clergy and would-bes of the gravity of the office.’