see also: Will
  • IPA: /wɪl/, [wɪɫ]
  1. (now uncommon or literary, transitive) To wish, desire (something). [chiefly 9th-18th c.]
    Do what you will.
    • 1944, FJ Sheed, translating St. Augustine, Confessions:
      Grant what Thou dost command, and command what Thou wilt.
  2. (nowadays rare, intransitive) To wish or desire (that something happen); to intend (that). [9th-19th c.]
    • c. 1450, The Macro Plays:
      If thou wilt fare well at meat and meal, come and follow me.
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Matthew XXVI:
      the disciples cam to Jesus sayinge unto hym: where wylt thou that we prepare for the to eate the ester lambe?
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970 ↗:
      see God's goodwill toward men, hear how generally his grace is proposed, to him, and him, and them, each man in particular, and to all. 1 Tim. ii. 4. "God will that all men be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth."
  3. (auxiliary) To habitually do (a given action). [from 9th c.]
    • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, page 28:
      As young men will, I did my best to appear suave and sophisticated.
    • 2009, Stephen Bayley, The Telegraph, 24 Sep 09:
      How telling is it that many women will volunteer for temporary disablement by wearing high heeled shoes that hobble them?
    • 2011, "Connubial bliss in America", The Economist:
      So far neither side has scored a decisive victory, though each will occasionally claim one.
  4. (auxiliary) To choose to (do something); ngd used to express intention but without any temporal connotations (+ bare infinitive), often in negation. [from 10th c.]
    I’ve told him three times, but he won’t take his medicine.
  5. (auxiliary) Used to express the future tense, sometimes with some implication of volition when used in the first person. Compare shall. [from 10th c.]
    • 1602, 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.
    • 1845, Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo, chapter LXXIII:
      “I will go to you, and we will fly; but from this moment until then, let us not tempt Providence, 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.”
  6. (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.
  7. (auxiliary) Expressing a present tense with some conditional or subjective weakening: "will turn out to", "must by inference". [from 15th c.]
    • 2007, Edward Jesko, The Polish:
      “That will be five zloty.” I reached into my pocket and came up with some coins.
    • 2012, Penny Freedman, All The Daughters:
      Unless she diverted on the ten minute walk home, she’ll have got home at about half past.
  • French: Use the future tense -erai, e.g. J’irai au magasin.; (colloquial) aller
  • German: werden, present tense form is often used
  • Italian: Use the future tense -erò, e.g. And al negozio.
  • Portuguese: Use the future tense; (colloquial) use present indicative forms of ir

will (plural wills)

  1. 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.
  2. One's intention or decision; someone's orders or commands. [from 9th c.]
    Eventually I submitted to my parents' will.
  3. The act of choosing to do something; a person’s conscious intent or volition. [from 10th c.]
    Most creatures have a will to live.
  4. (law) 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.]
  5. (archaic) That which is desired; one's wish. [from 10th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.ii:
      I auow by this most sacred head / Of my deare foster child, to ease thy griefe, / And win thy will [...].
  6. (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.
  • (law) last will, last will and testament, testament
Translations Translations Translations Verb

will (wills, present participle willing; past willed, past participle willed)

  1. (archaic) To wish, desire. [9th–19th c.]
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Matthew 8:2 ↗:
      And behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To instruct (that something be done) in one's will. [from 9th c.]
  3. (transitive) 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.
    • 1613, William Shakespeare; [John Fletcher], “The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene i]:
      They willed me say so, madam.
  4. (Can we date this quote?), Francis Beaumont; John Fletcher, “Love's Cure”, in Comedies and Tragedies […], London: Printed for Humphrey Robinson, […], and for Humphrey Moseley […], published 1647, OCLC 3083972 ↗, Act 1, scene 2:
    Send for music, / And will the cooks to use their best of cunning / To please the palate.
  5. (transitive) To bequeath (something) to someone in one's will (legal document). [from 15th c.]
    He willed his stamp collection to the local museum.
Synonyms Translations Translations
Pronunciation Proper noun
  1. A male given name, a shortening of William; also used as a formal given name.
    • 1598, William Shakespeare, Sonnets, 136
      Make but my name thy love, and love that still, / And then thou lov'st me, - for my name is Will.
    • 1998 Nick Hornby, About A Boy, Victor Gollancz, 1998, ISBN 0575061596, page 208
      One of his neighbours opposite, a nice old guy with a stoop and a horrible little Yorkshire terrier, called him Bill - always had done and presumably always would, right up till the day he died. It actually irritated Will, who was not, he felt, by any stretch of the imagination, a Bill. Bill wouldn't smoke spliffs and listen to Nirvana. So why had he allowed this misapprehension to continue? Why hadn't he just said, four years ago, "Actually my name is Will"?
  2. Surname
Related terms Translations
  • French: Guillon
  • German: Willi, Willy, Wim
  • Portuguese: Gui
  • Russian: Уиллом
  • Slovene: Vilko, Vili
  • Spanish: Guille
  • Swedish: Ville

will (plural wills)

  1. (American football) A weak-side linebacker.
    • 1997, F Henderson, M Olson, Football's West Coast Offense, page 7
      Will linebacker drops to turn-in, QB dropping dumps the ball off to HB.
    • 2000, American Football Coaches Association Defensive Football Strategies, page 25
      Our Will linebacker, because he is away from the formation or to the split end, should be a great pursuit man and pass defender.
      Will covers the back side hook zone on the weak side.

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