AskDefine | Define will

The Collaborative Dictionary

Will \Will\, n. [OE. wille, AS. willa; akin to OFries. willa, OS. willeo, willio, D. wil, G. wille, Icel. vili, Dan. villie, Sw. vilja, Goth wilja. See Will, v.] [1913 Webster]
The power of choosing; the faculty or endowment of the soul by which it is capable of choosing; the faculty or power of the mind by which we decide to do or not to do; the power or faculty of preferring or selecting one of two or more objects. [1913 Webster] It is necessary to form a distinct notion of what is meant by the word "volition" in order to understand the import of the word will, for this last word expresses the power of mind of which "volition" is the act. --Stewart. [1913 Webster] Will is an ambiguous word, being sometimes put for the faculty of willing; sometimes for the act of that faculty, besides [having] other meanings. But "volition" always signifies the act of willing, and nothing else. --Reid. [1913 Webster] Appetite is the will's solicitor, and the will is appetite's controller; what we covet according to the one, by the other we often reject. --Hooker. [1913 Webster] The will is plainly that by which the mind chooses anything. --J. Edwards. [1913 Webster]
The choice which is made; a determination or preference which results from the act or exercise of the power of choice; a volition. [1913 Webster] The word "will," however, is not always used in this its proper acceptation, but is frequently substituted for "volition", as when I say that my hand mover in obedience to my will. --Stewart. [1913 Webster]
The choice or determination of one who has authority; a decree; a command; discretionary pleasure. [1913 Webster] Thy will be done. --Matt. vi.
[1913 Webster] Our prayers should be according to the will of God. --Law. [1913 Webster]
Strong wish or inclination; desire; purpose. [1913 Webster] Note: "Inclination is another word with which will is frequently confounded. Thus, when the apothecary says, in Romeo and Juliet, [1913 Webster] My poverty, but not my will, consents; . . . Put this in any liquid thing you will, And drink it off. [1913 Webster] the word will is plainly used as, synonymous with inclination; not in the strict logical sense, as the immediate antecedent of action. It is with the same latitude that the word is used in common conversation, when we speak of doing a thing which duty prescribes, against one's own will; or when we speak of doing a thing willingly or unwillingly." --Stewart. [1913 Webster]
That which is strongly wished or desired. [1913 Webster] What's your will, good friar? --Shak. [1913 Webster] The mariner hath his will. --Coleridge. [1913 Webster]
Arbitrary disposal; power to control, dispose, or determine. [1913 Webster] Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies. --Ps. xxvii.
[1913 Webster]
(Law) The legal declaration of a person's mind as to the manner in which he would have his property or estate disposed of after his death; the written instrument, legally executed, by which a man makes disposition of his estate, to take effect after his death; testament; devise. See the Note under Testament,
[1913 Webster] Note: Wills are written or nuncupative, that is, oral. See Nuncupative will, under Nuncupative. [1913 Webster] At will (Law), at pleasure. To hold an estate at the will of another, is to enjoy the possession at his pleasure, and be liable to be ousted at any time by the lessor or proprietor. An estate at will is at the will of both parties. Good will. See under Good. Ill will, enmity; unfriendliness; malevolence. To have one's will, to obtain what is desired; to do what one pleases. Will worship, worship according to the dictates of the will or fancy; formal worship. [Obs.] Will worshiper, one who offers will worship. [Obs.] --Jer. Taylor. With a will, with willingness and zeal; with all one's heart or strength; earnestly; heartily. [1913 Webster]
Will \Will\, v. t. & auxiliary. [imp. Would. Indic. present, I will (Obs. I wol), thou wilt, he will (Obs. he wol); we, ye, they will.] [OE. willen, imp. wolde; akin to OS. willan, OFries. willa, D. willen, G. wollen, OHG. wollan, wellan, Icel. & Sw. vilja, Dan. ville, Goth. wiljan, OSlav. voliti, L. velle to wish, volo I wish; cf. Skr. v[.r] to choose, to prefer. Cf. Voluntary, Welcome, Well, adv.] [1913 Webster]
To wish; to desire; to incline to have. [1913 Webster] A wife as of herself no thing ne sholde [should] Wille in effect, but as her husband wolde [would]. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Caleb said unto her, What will thou ? --Judg. i.
[1913 Webster] They would none of my counsel. --Prov. i.
[1913 Webster]
As an auxiliary, will is used to denote futurity dependent on the verb. Thus, in first person, "I will" denotes willingness, consent, promise; and when "will" is emphasized, it denotes determination or fixed purpose; as, I will go if you wish; I will go at all hazards. In the second and third persons, the idea of distinct volition, wish, or purpose is evanescent, and simple certainty is appropriately expressed; as, "You will go," or "He will go," describes a future event as a fact only. To emphasize will denotes (according to the tone or context) certain futurity or fixed determination. [1913 Webster] Note: Will, auxiliary, may be used elliptically for will go. "I'll to her lodgings." --Marlowe. [1913 Webster] Note: As in shall (which see), the second and third persons may be virtually converted into the first, either by question or indirect statement, so as to receive the meaning which belongs to will in that person; thus, "Will you go?" (answer, "I will go") asks assent, requests, etc.; while "Will he go?" simply inquires concerning futurity; thus, also,"He says or thinks he will go," "You say or think you will go," both signify willingness or consent. [1913 Webster] Note: Would, as the preterit of will, is chiefly employed in conditional, subjunctive, or optative senses; as, he would go if he could; he could go if he would; he said that he would go; I would fain go, but can not; I would that I were young again; and other like phrases. In the last use, the first personal pronoun is often omitted; as, would that he were here; would to Heaven that it were so; and, omitting the to in such an adjuration. "Would God I had died for thee." Would is used for both present and future time, in conditional propositions, and would have for past time; as, he would go now if he were ready; if it should rain, he would not go; he would have gone, had he been able. Would not, as also will not, signifies refusal. "He was angry, and would not go in." --Luke xv.
Would is never a past participle. [1913 Webster] Note: In Ireland, Scotland, and the United States, especially in the southern and western portions of the United States, shall and will, should and would, are often misused, as in the following examples: [1913 Webster] I am able to devote as much time and attention to other subjects as I will [shall] be under the necessity of doing next winter. --Chalmers. [1913 Webster] A countryman, telling us what he had seen, remarked that if the conflagration went on, as it was doing, we would [should] have, as our next season's employment, the Old Town of Edinburgh to rebuild. --H. Miller. [1913 Webster] I feel assured that I will [shall] not have the misfortune to find conflicting views held by one so enlightened as your excellency. --J. Y. Mason. [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster]
Will \Will\, v. i. To exercise an act of volition; to choose; to decide; to determine; to decree. [1913 Webster] At Winchester he lies, so himself willed. --Robert of Brunne. [1913 Webster] He that shall turn his thoughts inward upon what passes in his own mind when he wills. --Locke. [1913 Webster] I contend for liberty as it signifies a power in man to do as he wills or pleases. --Collins. [1913 Webster]
Will \Will\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Willed; p. pr. & vb. n. Willing. Indic. present I will, thou willeth, he wills; we, ye, they will.] [Cf. AS. willian. See Will, n.] [1913 Webster]
To form a distinct volition of; to determine by an act of choice; to ordain; to decree. "What she will to do or say." --Milton. [1913 Webster] By all law and reason, that which the Parliament will not, is no more established in this kingdom. --Milton. [1913 Webster] Two things he [God] willeth, that we should be good, and that we should be happy. --Barrow. [1913 Webster]
To enjoin or command, as that which is determined by an act of volition; to direct; to order. [Obs. or R.] [1913 Webster] They willed me say so, madam. --Shak. [1913 Webster] Send for music, And will the cooks to use their best of cunning To please the palate. --Beau. & Fl. [1913 Webster] As you go, will the lord mayor . . . To attend our further pleasure presently. --J. Webster. [1913 Webster]
To give or direct the disposal of by testament; to bequeath; to devise; as, to will one's estate to a child; also, to order or direct by testament; as, he willed that his nephew should have his watch. [1913 Webster]
Will \Will\, v. i. To be willing; to be inclined or disposed; to be pleased; to wish; to desire. [1913 Webster] And behold, there came a leper and worshiped him, saying, Lord if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus . . . touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. --Matt. viii. 2,
[1913 Webster] Note: This word has been confused with will, v. i., to choose, which, unlike this, is of the weak conjugation. [1913 Webster] Will I, nill I, or Will ye, hill ye, or Will he, nill he, whether I, you, or he will it or not; hence, without choice; compulsorily; -- commonly abbreviated to willy nilly. "If I must take service willy nilly." --J. H. Newman. "Land for all who would till it, and reading and writing will ye, nill ye." --Lowell. [1913 Webster]

Word Net



1 the capability of conscious choice and decision and intention; "the exercise of their volition we construe as revolt"- George Meredith [syn: volition]
2 a fixed and persistent intent or purpose; "where there's a will there's a way"
3 a legal document declaring a person's wishes regarding the disposal of their property when they die [syn: testament]


1 decree or ordain; "God wills our existence"
2 have in mind; "I will take the exam tomorrow" [syn: wish]
3 determine by choice; "This action was willed and intended"
4 leave or give by will after one's death; "My aunt bequeathed me all her jewelry"; "My grandfather left me his entire estate" [syn: bequeath, leave] [ant: disinherit]

Moby Thesaurus

add a codicil, aim, alternativity, ambition, animus, aplomb, appetite, ardor, aspiration, assurance, attested copy, behest, bequeath, bequeathal, bequest, bidding, character, choice, choose, choose to, choosing, co-optation, co-option, codicil, command, commandment, commitment, conclude, concupiscence, confidence, control, counsel, crave, curiosity, decide, decidedness, decision, decisiveness, decree, dedication, definiteness, desideration, desideratum, design, desire, determinateness, determination, determine, determinedness, devise, devotion, dictate, dictation, direct order, discipline, discretion, disposition, drive, eagerness, earnestness, effect, election, entail, execute a will, fancy, fantasy, first choice, fix, fixed purpose, fixity of purpose, fortitude, free choice, free will, function, hand down, hand on, hankering, hest, hope, horme, idea, imperative, inclination, inheritance, intellectual curiosity, intendment, intent, intention, iron will, leave, legacy, legate, libido, like, liking, longing, lust for learning, make a bequest, make a will, meaning, mind, moral courage, moral fiber, motive, need, nisus, obstinacy, order, pass on, passion, perseverance, persistence, pick, pining, plan, please, pleasure, pleasure principle, point, poise, power, preference, preoption, probate, project, proposal, prospectus, purpose, purposefulness, relentlessness, resoluteness, resolution, resolve, resolvedness, restraint, sake, say-so, seal, see fit, selection, self-command, self-control, self-discipline, self-government, self-mastery, self-possession, self-restraint, self-will, seriousness, settle, sexual desire, sincerity, single-mindedness, special order, strength, strength of mind, strength of purpose, striving, study, take a resolution, temper, tenacity, testament, the pick, think fit, think good, think proper, thirst for knowledge, total commitment, transmit, urge, velleity, view, volition, want, wanting, will and bequeath, will and pleasure, will of iron, will power, will to, willpower, wish, wish fulfillment, wishes, word, word of command, yearning
see Will


Etymology 1

From willa.


  • /wɪl/, /wIl/
  • Rhymes with: -ɪl


  1. A person’s intent, volition, decision.
  2. A legal document that states who is to receive a person’s estate and assets after their death.


  • Cebuano: buot, pagbuot
  • Czech: vůle
  • Dutch: wil, wens
  • Esperanto: volo
  • Ewe: lɔ̃lɔ̃nu
  • Finnish: tahto
  • French: volonté
  • German: Wille
  • Greek: βούληση (voúlisi)
  • Hebrew: ,
  • Hungarian: szándék, akarat
  • Italian: volontà
  • Japanese: 意志 (いし, ishi)
  • Norwegian: vilje, ønske
  • Portuguese: vontade
  • Romanian: voinţă
  • Russian: воля
  • Slovak: vôľa
  • Slovene: volja
  • Spanish: voluntad
  • Swedish: vilja, önskan
legal document
American football: weak side backliner

Etymology 2

From *willan


  1. Indicating intent to perform the action in the future, or expectation of an event in the future.
    I will go to the store.
    It will rain this afternoon.
  2. Being ready to perform an action or comply with a request, see willing (verbal adjective).
    He is willing to come tomorrow.
  3. In the context of "dated|first person only": Indicating intent to perform the action in the future.
    • 1890, 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.
    • 1879, 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.”
  4. In the context of "dated|second and third person only": Indicating expectation that the subject will perform the action in the future.

Usage notes

  • 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.
  • See the usage note at shall.
  • Early Modern English had a past participle would which is now obsolete.


indicating future action
  • Dutch: zullen
  • Esperanto: Use the future form of the verb that follows
    • I will go to the store - Mi iros al la vendejo
  • French: Use the future form of the verb that follows; in colloquial speech, use verb "to go" as auxiliar + infinitive
    • I will go to the store - J'irai au magasin
    • I will go to the store - Je vais aller au magasin
  • German: werden
  • Hungarian: fog
  • Italian: Use the future form of the verb that follows
    • I will go to the store - Andrò al negozio
  • Latin: velle
  • Norwegian: vil, kommer til å, skal
  • Portuguese: Use the future form of the verb that follows; in colloquial speech, use verb "to go" as auxiliar + infinitive except when followed by this same verb
    • I will go to the store - Irei à loja
    • I will buy a shoe - Vou comprar um sapato
  • Spanish: Use the future form of the verb that follows
    • I will go to the store - Iré a la tienda
  • Swedish: kommer att, ska
    • I will go to the store - Jag ska gå till affären or Jag kommer att gå till affären
  • Turkish: (2): suffix for all verbs: -ecek. Variants (because of the vowel harmony in Turkish): -ecek (if the last vowel of a verb one of these; e,i,ö,ü) or -acak (for the vowels a,ı,o or u).

Etymology 3



  1. To try to make (something) happen by using one's will (intention).
    All the fans were willing their team to win the game.
  2. To bequeath (something) to someone in one's will (legal document).
    He willed his stamp collection to the local museum.
  3. To intend, decide to do something, wish strongly
    "Sophia can win the race if she wills it."



To bequeath
  • Czech: odkázat
  • Esperanto: testamenti
  • Finnish: testamentata
  • French: léguer
  • Norwegian: testamentere
  • Russian: желать
  • Swedish: testamentera
to wish strongly
  • Esperanto: voli
  • French: vouloir
  • German: wollen
  • Norwegian: ville
  • Russian: завещать
  • Spanish: desear
  • Swedish: vilja



  1. First person singular of wollen, want
  2. Third person singular of wollen, want
Will may refer to:
  • Will (modal verb)
  • Will (law), a legal document expressing the desires of the author with regard to the disposition of property after the author's death.
    • Living will, a legal document expressing the desires of the author with regard to medical decisions, invoked in the event that the author is incapacitated and unable to act on their own behalf.
  • Will (philosophy), or willpower, is a philosophical concept that is defined in several different ways
    • Free will, the trait that produces conscious choices and actions.
    • The Will to Power, a prominent concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
  • True Will, found within the mystical system of Thelema
  • Will (sociology), a concept introduced by Ferdinand Tönnies in 1887
  • WILL, three public broadcasting stations owned by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • E.C.H. Will, Hamburg-based supplier of machinery for the paper manufacturing and converting industries
  • Will is a nickname for William. See William (name) for information on the name
  • Will (comics), pen name of Willy Maltaite, a Belgian comics creator
  • George Will, conservative American newspaper columnist, journalist, and author
In fiction:
  • Will Aston, the black ranger from Power Rangers Operation Overdrive
  • Will Vandom, a character from W.I.T.C.H.
  • Will Parry, a character from His Dark Materials
  • Will (book), the autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy
  • Will, a novel by Maria Boyd
  • Will: The Death Trap II, a 1985 video game for the NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, Fujitsu FM-7, and Sharp X1
  • The Will, a reality TV series that was cancelled after one episode.
  • Will (film) (the first title)now Rock on (film), a 2008 film featuring Gaelan Connell, Alyson Michalka and Lisa Kudrow

See also

  • All wikipedia article titles beginning with Will
  • Wilma (disambiguation)
  • William (disambiguation)
  • Willem (disambiguation)
will in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Воля
will in German: Will
will in Spanish: Will (desambiguación)
will in French: Will (homonymie)
will in Italian: Will
will in Japanese: ウィル
will in Polish: Will
will in Russian: Воля (значения)
will in Simple English: Will
will in Ukrainian: Воля (значення)
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