Could anyone explain to me what the differences are between these words, both in meaning and usage?

up vote 4 down vote accepted
  • 望み
    • hope (expectation for future / expectation of surviving, sustaining)

      望みを捨てるな don't give up hope

    • desire, wish (expectation of obtaining / achieving)

      望み薄 fat chance

  • 志望
    • aim of becoming (of profession, school etc.)

      志望動機 reason for applying (for the job etc.)

  • 希望
    • hope; sounds slightly more bookish, but also more modern than 望み
    • wish, preference (request out of one's taste)

      希望が通る request is met

  • 願い
    • wish, hope (which is not necessarily fulfilled by one's own effort)

      願いがかなう wish comes true

    • [suffixing] letter of (request for)...

      退職願 resignation letter

The word forms you provided are nouns, but of course they can be used as verbs with respective meanings.

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