In this section, we shall look at the Desiderative.In Sanskrit, there are two ways to express what one wants to convey, first, the verb “is” is used with an infinitive.
Look at the sentence given below to learn further:

गन्तुम् इच्छामि
gantum icchāmi
I want to go.

The second way is by using the new word form, example, the sentence given below:

I want to go.

This new verb is called desiderative verb, desiderative is a Latin word that comes from the English word “desire”.

Forming the desiderative root

The root used by desiderative word is called desiderative root. We double the root and add S at the end of the root. The “i” of the root vowels combines with suffix s to form “is”. It can be understood further with the examples given below.

युध् → यु + युध् + स् → युयुत्स्
yudh → yu + yudh + s → yuyuts
fight → want to fight

जीव् → जि + जीव् + इ + स् → जिजीविष्
jīv → ji + jīv + i + s → jijīviṣ
live → want to live

The things which need to be done to create Desiderative roots are :

  • Create the doubled sound
  • Change the root
  • Add the S suffix

Creating the doubled sound.

The ordinary rules of duplication are followed as far as creating the doubled sound is concerned. The vowel in the doubled sound is either “I” or “u”, however, it is determined by the vowel in the root. Look at the table given below to understand further.

Root vowel. Doubled Vowel.
u, ū u
ṛ, ṝ u if after a consonant in pavarga; i otherwise
Other i

Look at the examples given below:

स्था → तिष्ठास्
sthā → tiṣṭhās
stand → wish to stand
मृ → मुमूर्ष्
mṛ → mumūrṣ
die → wish to die

Note that mṛ becomes mūr. We’ll study this change further below.

The doubled sound is not used if the root starts with a vowel, instead “s” suffix is used with the vowel. However, the two similar vowels will not be combined. Look at the examples given below to gain the clarity regarding the same.

इ → इयिष्
I → iyiṣ
go → wish to go

The result is iyiṣ, not īṣ.

आस् → आसिष्
ās → āsiṣ
sit → wish to sit
आप् → ईप्स्
āp → īps
obtain → wish to obtain

Changing the root

ṛ and ṝ become īr; however, if they appear after a sound pavarga, they become
Look at the examples given below:

कृ → चिकीर्ष्
kṛ → cikīrṣ

तॄ → तितीर्ष्
tṝ → titīrṣ

मृ → मुमूर्ष्
mṛ → mumūrṣ

पॄ → पुपूर्ष्
pṝ → pupūrṣ

The final short vowel becomes long.

श्रु → शुश्रूष्
śru → śuśrūṣ
hear → want to hear

in case the root vowel is used with is, the following root vowels will be strengthened.
ī, ū, ṝ occur finally.

When surrounded by consonants.
The “u” of “subh”.
Using the Desiderative root.Through Desiderative roots, verbs, adjectives, and abstract nouns are formed.


The different verb stems which can be formed are given in the table below.

Stem type Suffix
Ordinary stem a
Passive stem ya
Causal stem aya
Future stem isya.

All the above-mentioned stems can be mixed and matched, however, causal stem might be tricky. For example, “to X” would mean “cause somebody to want X”.
The subject causes, not WANT.
Look at the example given further:

आप् → ईप्स् → ईप्सय → ईप्सयामि
āp → īps → īpsaya → īpsayāmi
obtain → want to obtain (root) → cause to want to obtain (stem) → I cause to want to obtain.
(order: desiderative stem, causal suffix, verb ending)


The desiderative roots are commonly used to create adjectives, for the same, add u to the back of the root. Look at the examples given below:

युध् → युयुत्स् → युयुत्सु
yudh → yuyuts → yuyutsu
fight → want to fight (root) → wanting to fight (adjective)

Desiderative root can also become abstract noun by adding a to the end of the root. Look at the example given below:

ज्ञा → जिज्ञास् → जिज्ञासा
jñā → jijñās → jijñāsā
know → want to know (root) → desire to know, investigation

मन् → मीमांस् → मीमांसा
man → mīmāṃs → mīmāṃsā
think → want to think (root) → desire to think; analysis, profound investigation, Mimāṃsā
(Note that the doubling here is irregular.)


Derivative with causal terms:
Causal stems are used to create derivative verbs, the last “a” of the stem is removed and “I” is used. If the original is “to X”, then the causal version would be “to want to cause somebody to X”. Look at the example given below.

धृ → धार् → धारय → दिधारयिष् → दिधारयिष → दिधारयिषति
dhṛ → dhār → dhāraya → didhārayiṣ → didhārayiṣa → didhārayiṣati
bear (root) → cause to bear (root) → cause to bear (stem) → want to cause to bear (root) → want to cause to bear (stem) → He wants to cause to bear.

(order: doubled sound, causal stem, desiderative suffix, verb ending)

Odd meanings and desiderative roots:
If the verb is ‘X’, the desiderative does not always mean X. Desiderative can also mean something else.

श्रु → शुश्रूष्
śru → śuśrūṣ
hear → want to hear; attend, serve

तिज् → तितिक्ष्
tij → titikṣ
become sharp → want to become sharp; endure, suffer patiently