Alternative formsEdit


will-they-won't-they (not comparable)

  1. Of or pertaining to a potential coupling between two people who share romantic chemistry, but whose relationship is threatened by uncertainty, external obstacles or internal strife.
    • 1968, The Scandinavian Times: Newsmagazine
      Princess Sonja, the daughter of an Oslo fashion house director, married Crown Prince Harald last summer after a will-they-won't-they romance that had gone on for a decade.
    • 1987, The Listener
      Duet is a "will-they-won't-they?" sit-com about a young couple best described as in the throes of 'courting'.
    • 2010, Katie Nicholl, William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls, Weinstein Publishing →ISBN, page 187
      Woolworths had already started manufacturing wedding memorabilia, including William and Kate china, ahead of an announcement; the press toyed with the will-they-won't-they question; and the couple kept a chart of newspaper speculations on the royal wedding
    • 2011, Jasper Sharp, Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema, Scarecrow Press →ISBN, page 224
      Ôba's three-part What is Your Name? (Kimi no na wa, 1953—1954), a will-they-won't-they romantic drama in which a couple meet on a bridge during a wartime air raid and fall in love, promising that they will meet again although unfortunately neglecting to tell each other their names, was the most commercially successful film of the early 1950s.
    • 2014, Marc Blake, How To Be A Sitcom Writer: Secrets From The Inside, Andrews UK Limited →ISBN
      Tim and Dawn, being a will-they-won't-they pair, both lose (until they get together at the end).
  2. (by extension) Of or pertaining to any situation in which there is an extended period of uncertainty.
    • 1971, Multinational Business
      Among the small producers, the West German companies Continental Gummi and Phoenix Gummi are in the middle of a will-they-won't-they merger dance.
    • 1978, New Scientist, page 379
      Not only physically did Greenpeace alter the situation—but perhaps more important, it gave the issue a cup-tie atmosphere which it may not otherwise have had, and there was the constant will-they-won't- they.
    • 1996 January 27, The Guardian, quoted in Katarzyna Jaszczolt, Ken Turner, Meaning Through Language Contrast, John Benjamins Publishing →ISBN, page 133
      The reality behind the will-they-won't-they, pre-nuptial dances among aspirant members of Europe's monetary union club is that as long as the present economic slowdown doesn't turn into a full-blown recession the project will probably go ahead.