will

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English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English wille, from Old English willa (mind, will, determination, purpose, desire, wish, request, joy, delight, pleasure) (compare verb willian), from Proto-Germanic *wiljô (desire, will), from Proto-Indo-European *wel- (to choose, wish). Cognate with Dutch wil, German Wille, Swedish vilja. The verb is not always distinguishable from Etymology 2, below.

Noun[edit]

will (plural wills)

  1. (archaic) Desire, longing. (Now generally merged with later senses.) [from 9th c.]
    He felt a great will to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
  2. One's independent faculty of choice; the ability to be able to exercise one's choice or intention. [from 9th c.]
    Of course, man's will is often regulated by his reason.
  3. One's intention or decision; someone's orders or commands. [from 9th c.]
    Eventually I submitted to my parents' will.
  4. (archaic) That which is desired; one's wish. [from 10th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.ii:
      I auow by this most sacred head / Of my deare foster child, to ease thy griefe, / And win thy will [...].
  5. The act of choosing to do something; a person’s conscious intent or volition. [from 10th c.]
    Most creatures have a will to live.
    • 2012 May 27, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “New Kid On The Block” (season 4, episode 8; originally aired 11/12/1992)”, The Onion AV Club:
      The episode’s unwillingness to fully commit to the pathos of the Bart-and-Laura subplot is all the more frustrating considering its laugh quota is more than filled by a rollicking B-story that finds Homer, he of the iron stomach and insatiable appetite, filing a lawsuit against The Frying Dutchman when he’s hauled out of the eatery against his will after consuming all of the restaurant’s shrimp (plus two plastic lobsters).
  6. A formal declaration of one's intent concerning the disposal of one's property and holdings after death; the legal document stating such wishes. [from 14th c.]
    • 1928, Lawrence R. Bourne, chapter 1, Well Tackled![1]:
      “Uncle Barnaby was always father and mother to me,” Benson broke in; then after a pause his mind flew off at a tangent. “Is old Hannah all right—in the will, I mean?”
Usage notes[edit]
  • Can be said to be strong, free, independent, etc.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

will (third-person singular simple present wills, present participle willing, simple past willed or (rare) would, past participle willed)

  1. (archaic) To wish, desire. [9th–19th c.]
    • Bible, Matthew viii. 2
      And behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To instruct (that something be done) in one's will. [from 9th c.]
  3. (transitive) To try to make (something) happen by using one's will (intention). [from 10th c.]
    All the fans were willing their team to win the game.
    • Shakespeare
      They willed me say so, madam.
    • Beaumont and Fletcher
      Send for music, / And will the cooks to use their best of cunning / To please the palate.
  4. (transitive) To bequeath (something) to someone in one's will (legal document). [from 15th c.]
    He willed his stamp collection to the local museum.
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English willen, wullen, wollen, from Old English willan, wyllan (to will, be willing, wish, desire, be used to, to be about to), from Proto-Germanic *wiljaną (to desire, wish), from Proto-Indo-European *(e)welǝ- (to choose, wish). Cognate with Dutch willen, Low German willen, German wollen, Swedish vilja, Latin velle (wish, verb) and Albanian vel (to satisfy, be stuffed) .It is not always distinguishable from Etymology 1, above.

Verb[edit]

- (third-person singular simple present will, present participle willing, simple past would, past participle -)

  1. (rare, transitive) To wish, desire (something). [9th-18th c.]
    • 1944, FJ Sheed, translating St. Augustine, Confessions:
      Grant what Thou dost command, and command what Thou wilt.
  2. (rare, intransitive) To wish or desire (that something happen); to intend (that). [9th-19th c.]
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Matthew XXVI:
      the disciples cam to Jesus sayinge unto hym: where wylt thou that we prepare for the to eate the ester lambe?
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy:
      see God's goodwill toward men, hear how generally his grace is proposed, to him, and him, and them, each man in particular, and to all. 1 Tim. ii. 4. "God will that all men be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth."
  3. (auxiliary) To habitually do (a given action). [from 9th c.]
    • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, p. 28:
      As young men will, I did my best to appear suave and sophisticated.
    • 2009, Stephen Bayley, The Telegraph, 24 Sep 09:
      How telling is it that many women will volunteer for temporary disablement by wearing high heeled shoes that hobble them?
    • 2011, "Connubial bliss in America", The Economist:
      So far neither side has scored a decisive victory, though each will occasionally claim one.
  4. (auxiliary) To choose to (do something), used to express intention but without any temporal connotations (+ bare infinitive). [from 10th c.]
  5. (auxiliary) Used to express the future tense, formerly with some implication of volition when used in first person. Compare shall. [from 10th c.]
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night Or What You Will, act IV:
      Good fool, as ever thou wilt deserve well at my hand, help me to a candle, and pen, ink and paper : as I am a gentleman, I will live to be thankful to thee for’t.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo, chapter LXXIII:
      “I will rejoin you, and we will fly ; but from this moment until then, let us not tempt Providence, Morrel; let us not see each other; it is a miracle, it is a providence that we have not been discovered; if we were surprised, if it were known that we met thus, we should have no further resource.”
  6. (auxiliary) To be able to, to have the capacity to. [from 14th c.]
    Unfortunately, only one of these gloves will actually fit over my hand.
Usage notes[edit]
  • Historically, will was used in the simple future sense only in the second and third person, while shall was used in the first person. Today, that distinction is almost entirely lost, and the verb takes the same form in all persons and both numbers. Similarly, in the intent sense, will was historically used with the second and third person, while shall was reserved for the first person.
  • Historically, the present tense is will and the past tense is would. Early Modern English had a past participle would which is now obsolete.
Malory, ‘Many tymes he myghte haue had her and he had wold’ ; John Done, ‘If hee had would, hee might easily [...] occupied the Monarchy.’
  • Formerly, will could be used elliptically for "will go" — e.g. "I'll to her lodgings" (Marlowe).
  • See the usage note at shall.
  • The present participle does not apply to the uses of will as an auxiliary verb.
See also[edit]
Translations[edit]

Statistics[edit]


Cahuilla[edit]

Noun[edit]

wíll

  1. fat, grease

German[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

will

  1. First-person singular present of wollen.
  2. Third-person singular present of wollen.