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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. (UK 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. (UK dialectal) A willow basket.
  2. (UK 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, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, childish) the penis.
    Little Johnny got his willy stuck in his zipper.
  2. (UK, childish) Term of abuse.
    (The addition of quotations indicative of this usage is being sought:)

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]