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See also: Willy



  • IPA(key): /ˈwɪli/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪli

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English willy, willi, equivalent to will +‎ -y. Cognate with Dutch willig (obedient, hearsome), German willig (willing), Swedish villig (willing, agreeable).


willy (comparative willier or more willy, superlative williest or most willy)

  1. (obsolete) Willing; favourable; ready; eager.
  2. (Britain dialectal, Scotland) Self-willed; willful.
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English wilȝe, from Old English wiliġ (willow). More at willow.


willy (plural willies)

  1. Alternative form of willow


willy (third-person singular simple present willies, present participle willying, simple past and past participle willied)

  1. To cleanse wool or cotton, etc. with a willy, or willow.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English wilie, from Old English wiliġe, wileġe (basket), from Proto-Germanic *wiligō (wicker basket), from Proto-Indo-European *weliko- (willow-tree). More at weel, willow.


willy (plural willies)

  1. (Britain dialectal) A willow basket.
  2. (Britain dialectal) A fish basket.

Etymology 4[edit]

  • Originally northern British usage, from the 1960s. Probably the simple use of a proper name as a pet name; compare dick, fanny and peter. Unlikely to be a contraction of Latin membrum virile, male member (that is, the penis), a Latin term used in English in the nineteenth century.

Alternative forms[edit]


willy (plural willies)

  1. (hypocoristic, slang, childish) the penis.
  2. (Britain, childish) Term of abuse.

Etymology 5[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)

Alternative forms[edit]


willy (plural willies)

  1. (espionage) A person who is manipulated into serving as a useful agent without knowing it.

See also[edit]