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EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Medieval Latin velleitās, from Latin velle (wish, will).

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

velleity (countable and uncountable, plural velleities)

  1. The lowest degree of desire or volition, with no effort to act.
    • 1973, Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow:
      This connoisseuse of “splendid weaknesses”, run not by any lust or even velleity but by vacuum: by the absence of human hope.
  2. A slight wish not followed by any effort to obtain.
    • 1919, The Times, 24 Oct 1919, page 12, column A:
      The debate in the House of Lords would convert the impartial listener from any velleity towards single-chamber government.
    • 2006, Howard Jacobson, Kalooki Nights, Vintage 2007, page 372:
      Who could have imagined then, in Crumpsall, that the ancient Jewish hope, ‘Next year in Jerusalem’ – for so long more a velleity than a hope, the feeblest and most unanticipated of anticipations – would be realised in their lifetime and that they would be able to stand here, under the watchful eye of Israeli soldiers, but otherwise unimpeded, together?
    • 1995, Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age, Bantam Books 2008, page 47:
      The difficulty of getting here prevented people from coming on a velleity.

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