- (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.
- 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.
- One's intention or decision; someone's orders or commands. [from 9th c.]
- Eventually I submitted to my parents' will.
- (archaic) That which is desired; one's wish. [from 10th c.]
- The act of choosing to do something; a person's conscious intent or volition. [from 10th c.]
- Most creatures have a will to live.
- 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.]
- Can be said to be strong, free, independent, etc.
(third-person singular simple present wills, present participle willing, simple past willed or rarely would, past participle willed)
- (archaic) To wish, desire. [9th-19th c.]
- (intransitive) To instruct (that something be done) in one's will. [from 9th c.]
- 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.
- To bequeath (something) to someone in one's will (legal document). [from 15th c.]
- He willed his stamp collection to the local museum.
From Middle English wille, from Old English willa (“mind, will, determination, purpose, desire, wish, request, joy, delight, pleasure") (compare verb willian), from Proto-Germanic *wiljÃ´ (“desire, will"), from Proto-Indo-European *(e)welÇ- (“to choose, wish"). Cognate with Dutch wil, German Wille, Swedish vilja. The verb is not always distinguishable from Etymology 2, below.
(third-person singular simple present will, present participle willing, simple past would, past participle -)
- (rare) To wish, desire (something). [9th-18th c.]
- (rare, intransitive) To wish or desire (that something happen); to intend (that). [9th-19th c.]
- (auxiliary) To habitually do (a given action). [from 9th c.]
- (auxiliary) To choose to (do something), used to express intention but without any temporal connotations (+ bare infinitive). [from 10th c.]
- (auxiliary) Used to express the future tense, formerly with some implication of volition when used in first person. Compare shall. [from 10th c.]
- (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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 *wiljanÄ… (“to desire, wish"), from Proto-Indo-European *(e)welÇ- (“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.
- A diminutive of the male given name William. Also used as a formal given name.
- A patronymic surname.
- (American football) A weak-side linebacker.
Shortened from William or, less often, from other given names beginning with Wil-, such as Wilfred or Willard.