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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, sumelic, Mitch, NVZ Dec 16 '16 at 6:29

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  • "Satiation" is the satisfaction of want. "Charity" is the act of giving because of a desire to give. – Hot Licks Dec 14 '16 at 23:22
  • Maybe generosity..? – Laurel Dec 14 '16 at 23:41
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    Want here does not mean desire but neediness, destitution, poverty. – StoneyB Dec 15 '16 at 0:16
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    Right. And therefore its opposite is comfort; i.e, a living wage. – John Lawler Dec 15 '16 at 0:26
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    [Insert "DO NOT WANT" meme here] – Mason Wheeler Dec 15 '16 at 15:24
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You misunderstand want, here. The noun is meant. As WordWeb Online says:

Noun: want wónt

  1. A state of extreme poverty

    • privation, deprivation, neediness
  2. The state of needing something that is absent or unavailable "for want of a nail the shoe was lost";

    • lack, deficiency
  3. Anything that is necessary but lacking "I tried to supply his wants";

    • need
  4. 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

Antonyms: presence

-- Merriam Webster

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    Yes. A Christmas Carol uses "want" in both senses, but there the two key uses of "want" in the opening that help explain the girl's name: 1. "Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir." 2. "We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices." The girl personifies poverty. gutenberg.org/files/46/46-h/46-h.htm – JeremyDouglass Dec 15 '16 at 0:51
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    Note that Dickens himself suggests a specific single word opposite of Want: Abundance. – JeremyDouglass Dec 15 '16 at 0:55
  • @JeremyDouglass, that could be an answer. – 1006a Dec 15 '16 at 17:53
  • @Drew, would you like to incorporate any of that into your answer, or should I post it as a separate answer? – JeremyDouglass Dec 15 '16 at 17:56
  • @JeremyDouglass: You can provide it as a separate answer, if you like. (I upvoted the comments.) My answer mentions abundance, but the info about Dickens is also useful. – Drew Dec 15 '16 at 19:15
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In this context and style, the best word would probably be "plenty". As in "Children of Plenty and Wisdom", or something like that.

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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):

  1. "Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."
  2. "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.

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The children of satiety (the condition of having any appetite or desire gratified to excess (OED)).

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