10 Words For Wanting Something You Can’t Have

We often experience the feeling of wanting someone or something that we cannot have. However, we may not know a proper term to use to express this feeling appropriately. Therefore, this article will be highlighting the best terms that help to describe this specific feeling or situation.

Which Words Can Describe Wanting Something You Can’t Have?

In this article, we will be highlight ten terms that express wanting something that you can’t have, their specific meanings and how we can use them in a sentence. The specific terms we will be looking at are:

  • Unattainable
  • Unobtainable
  • Unrequited
  • Longing
  • Yearning
  • A Pipe Dream
  • Unreachable
  • Unrealistic
  • Inaccessible
  • Unreciprocated
Words For Wanting Something You Can’t Have

The preferred version that we will highlight is “unattainable”. This is because “unattainable” is a very strong way of expressing something that we do not believe that we will ever be able to successfully have or possess in our lifetime.


Cambridge Dictionary defines “unattainable” as not able to be achieved. Therefore, we generally find something that is “unattainable” as something that we will be able to get, even if we put forth a tremendous amount of effort. Occasionally, the “unattainable” can make us lose self-confidence.

When we find that something is “unattainable”, we often give up hope or our efforts of trying.

Here are some examples of how we can use this specific term:

  • She is entirely unattainable, there is no point in me even trying to ask her out on a date.
  • I think a perfect score on my geometry exam is very unattainable. An 80% is a much more realistic goal.
  • That job is unattainable because I do not possess the proper qualifications at this time.


Cambridge Dictionary defines “unobtainable” as not able to be obtained. This is often used in terms of something that we believe we will never possess or own. Therefore, we can often relate the “unobtainable” to something that we do not have the finances for.

“Unobtainable” describes something that we believe we cannot get, regardless of size or worth.

Some of the ways we can use this particular term are:

  • I would love to own a mansion, but at this point in life, it is very unobtainable.
  • That new sports car is a dream of mine, but I think it’ll always be unobtainable.
  • It may be unobtainable now, however, it is something that you can always work towards in the future.


Cambridge Dictionary defines “unrequited” as if the love that you feel for someone is unrequited, it is not felt in the same way by the other person. Therefore, we will use the term “unrequited” when we are describing someone that we love, which doesn’t return the sentiment towards us.

Often, we consider an “unrequited” love to be a source of immense heartbreak. This may also be someone that we have a lot of feelings for, that we have never dated, but will also never have the opportunity to do so.

Here are a few examples that highlight this particular term:

  • She felt the sting of unrequited love; one that would never be returned to her.
  • He considered his feeling towards her to be unrequited in the sense that she may not know about them, but he was aware she would never feel the same.
  • Her husband passed away years ago, but her feelings never dissipated and her love was unrequited.


Cambridge Dictionary defines “longing” as a feeling of wanting someone or something very much. Therefore, we can often characterize a “longing” as an immense desire that is not being fulfilled or that we believe may never be fulfilled.

Often, we also equate a “longing” for something or someone with a sense of sadness or loneliness, as our lives may not feel complete without it.

We will now go over a few examples showcasing the use of this term:

  • He had a longing for the newest gaming system, but his parents would not buy it for him.
  • She had a longing to travel the world, however, she wasn’t sure that would ever happen.
  • When he gazed at her, his eyes were filled with longing and immense desire.


Cambridge Dictionary defines “yearning” as a strong feeling of wishing for something, especially something that you cannot have or get easily. Therefore, we often have a “yearning” for something that we believe is very far out of our potential grasp.

“Yearning” is another term that is usually characterized by a feeling of loss or sadness. We are often quite mournful over something that we believe we can never attain.

Here are a few examples of how we can use this particular term:

  • I live in a busy city centre, so I’ve always had a yearning to live in the country.
  • She had a yearning to be with a married man, which left her feeling very depressed and lonely.
  • He had a yearning to own a dog, but his father was allergic.

A Pipe Dream

Cambridge Dictionary defines “a pipe dream” as an idea or plan that is impossible or very unlikely to happen. Therefore, when someone is describing “a pipe dream” it is often something that we are well aware can’t happen or would take an incredible amount of effort to make happen.

“A pipe dream” is often something we think about, but are aware can’t actually occur. Occasionally, we will use “a pipe dream” as a way to fantasize about escaping reality.

Some ways in which we can use this term are:

  • He wanted to become a million, which was definitely a pipe dream.
  • Her plans are entirely unrealistic and will never amount to more than a pipe dream.
  • The thought of owning a castle and becoming a princess in a faraway land is a pipe dream.


Cambridge Dictionary defines “unreachable” as if a place or thing is unreachable, it is not possible to get to it or to get hold of it. Similarly, we can consider a relationship to be “unreachable”, as in it is not something that we will ever have or can obtain.

When we consider something to be “unreachable”, we often have a sense of dread or instantly lose our drive to continue to strive towards it.

We will now go over a few examples that highlight the appropriate use of the term”

  • The village had become unreachable during the spring downpours because of landslides.
  • He was unreachable by phone for the last two days, causing us all immense worry.
  • That job is unreachable for me at the moment, but I can perhaps work towards it in the future.


Cambridge Dictionary defines “unrealistic” as having a wrong idea of what is likely to happen or of what you can really do, not based on facts. Therefore, something or someone that is “unrealistic” to us is often considered to be an inappropriate or flat-out wrong option.

Often, something that is “unrealistic” can cause immense disappointment, as this is not something that will generally work out in our favour.

To further showcase how we can use this term, here are a few examples:

  • I think the sales forecasts are entirely unrealistic for the next quarter. I’m not sure what the CEO is thinking.
  • That relationship is unrealistic man, she’s a famous celebrity! You need to move on!
  • It’s not healthy to set unrealistic expectations for yourself, as you end up feeling like you’ve let yourself and everyone around you down.


Cambridge Dictionary defines “inaccessible” as very difficult or impossible to travel to or out of reach. At the same time, we can also find the meaning of something to be “inaccessible”, depicting it as something that is difficult to understand or appreciate fully.

Therefore, when we consider something to be “inaccessible”, we generally consider it to be something we will never have, or can never make it to.

We will now go over the following examples, that highlight this term:

  • It is considered to be one of the most inaccessible places in the entire world.
  • Some of the houses on the hillside are inaccessible by car, causing the locals to walk home on a daily basis.
  • The answer to why our relationship was very inaccessible to me, as my ex-partner did not want to speak with me anymore.


Cambridge Dictionary defines “reciprocated” as sharing the same feelings as someone else or behaving in the same way as someone else. Therefore, when we say that love or feelings are “unreciprocated” it means that someone doesn’t feel the same way or has made it clear they never will.

An “unreciprocated” love or feelings are considered to be tremendously painful, as we often feel no closure from a situation or are entirely hung up on something that we cannot change.

Lastly, we will go over a few examples that highlight how we can use this particular term:

  • She felt the pain that only an unreciprocated love could cause. She has tried everything to properly convey her feelings to him, to no avail.
  • He has never dealt with unreciprocated feelings from someone before and it was causing him stress and heartache, unlike anything he had ever experienced.
  • The unreciprocated feelings in their marriage had caused an abundance of distrust and resentment, making her unaware if there was any point in mending the situation.