In Charles Dickens' book "A Christmas Carol", the children of Want and Ignorance crawl out of the Ghost of Christmas Present's robes. My understanding of this kind of "want" is the want of objects for themselves. Is there a single word opposite of "want" (i.e. "wanting to give")?
closed as off-topic by curiousdannii, user140086, herisson, Mitch, NVZ Dec 16 '16 at 6:29
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You misunderstand want, here. The noun is meant. As WordWeb Online says:
Noun: want wónt
A state of extreme poverty
- privation, deprivation, neediness
The state of needing something that is absent or unavailable "for want of a nail the shoe was lost";
- lack, deficiency
Anything that is necessary but lacking "I tried to supply his wants";
A specific feeling of desire
- wish, wishing
Here, it is all about meaning #1 (or #2 or to some extent #3, but not #4).
And googling for "want antonym noun" tells you, among other things:
Near Antonyms: abundance, amplitude, bounty, plenitude, plenteousness, plentifulness, plentitude, plenty, wealth; adequacy, sufficiency; excess, overabundance, oversupply, superabundance, surfeit, surplus; deluge, flood; bushel, deal, gobs, heap, loads, lot, mass, mountain, much, oodles, peck, pile, pot, quantity, raft, reams, scads, stack, volume, wad; fund, pool, stock, supply; cache, hoard, stash, stockpile
In this context and style, the best word would probably be "plenty". As in "Children of Plenty and Wisdom", or something like that.
Charles Dickens suggests that, in the context of his story, the single word opposite (the antonym) of "Want" is "Abundance."
Two quotations from the opening chapter of A Christmas Carol use the word "want" in ways that explain the usage of the girl Want's name. The portly gentlemen use it when they request a donation from Scrooge (emphasis added):
- "Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."
- "We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices."
In the first example, being "in want" is being needy / in need, as in poverty.
In the second example the word "Want" is capitalized. This is "allegorical personification": the gentlemen are speaking about poverty as if about a person. This is very uncommon in contemporary English usage, but was more common in Dickens' day. Later Scrooge will meet a little girl named Want who personifies / physically embodies poverty.
Your question was for "a single word opposite of want," and there are many, but Dickens suggests Abundance: rather than being "in want," having much more than enough.
The children of satiety (the condition of having any appetite or desire gratified to excess (OED)).