nill

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English nillen, from Old English nillan, nellan, nyllan (to be unwilling, refuse, prevent; not want to), corresponding to ne +‎ will. Cognate with Old Frisian nelle.

Verb[edit]

nill (third-person singular simple present nills, present participle nilling, simple past nilled or (obsolete) nould, past participle nilled)

  1. (modal auxiliary, obsolete) To be unwilling; will not (+ infinitive).
  2. (intransitive, archaic) To be unwilling.
    • 1903, A. W. Pollard (ed.), Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory (1485) , volume I, Bk. II, chapter V:
      So the knight of Ireland armed him at all points, [] , and rode after a great pace, as much as his horse might go; and within a little space on a mountain he had a sight of Balin, and with a loud voice he cried, Abide, knight, for ye shall abide whether ye will or nill, and the shield that is to-fore you shall not help.
      1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book II, chapter v:
      Soo the knyght of Irelonde armed hym at al poyntes / [] and rode after a grete paas as moche as his hors myght goo / and within a lytel space on a montayne he had a syghte of Balyn / and with a lowde voys he cryed abyde knyght / for ye shal abyde whether ye will or nyll / and the sheld that is to fore you shalle not helpe
    • 1955, J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (Appendices):
      I must indeed abide the Doom of Men, whether I will or I nill.
  3. (transitive, archaic) To reject, refuse, negate.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Compare Irish and Gaelic neul star, light. Compare nebula.

Noun[edit]

nill

  1. Shining sparks thrown off from melted brass.
  2. Scales of hot iron from the forge.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)