Shall Definition

Used before a verb in the infinitive to show:
American Heritage
To be able to.
American Heritage
To have to; must.
American Heritage
Used in the first person to indicate simple future time.
I shall probably go tomorrow.
Webster's New World
Used in the second or third person, esp. in formal speech or writing, to express determination, compulsion, obligation, or necessity.
You shall have to wait your turn.
Webster's New World

Origin of Shall

  • From Middle English schal (first and third person singular form of schulen), from Old English sceal (first and third person singular of sculan (“to be obligated or obliged to, shall, must, owe, ought to"), from Proto-Germanic *skulanÄ…, from Proto-Indo-European *skal- (“to owe, be under obligation"), *(s)kel-. Cognate with Scots sall, sal (“shall"), Dutch zal ("shall"; from zullen), German soll ("ought to"; from sollen), Danish skall ("shall"; from skulle). Related to shild.

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English schal from Old English sceal skel-2 in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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