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EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

From an original will I, nill I, or will he, nill he, or will ye, nill ye, which means if I/he/ye are willing, if I/he/ye are not willing, that is whether I/he/ye are willing or not; see will, nill.[1]

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /ˌwɪliˈnɪli/
  • (file)

AdverbEdit

willy-nilly (comparative more willy-nilly, superlative most willy-nilly)

  1. Whether desired or not.
    • 1954, Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception, Chatto & Windus, page 36:
      The outer world is what we wake up to every morning of our lives, is the place where, willy-nilly, we must try to make our living.
    • 1894, Thomas Hardy, Hearts Insurgent, in Harper's Magazine, Volume XC, Number 536, page 195:
      He says he shall come for me willy-nilly, and father and mother say I must have him!
  2. Without regard for consequences or the will of those affected.
    So people chasing money churn out novels willy-nilly.
  3. Seemingly at random, haphazardly
    The novel Alice in Wonderland describes a place where random things happen all willy-nilly.

SynonymsEdit

TranslationsEdit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

AdjectiveEdit

willy-nilly (comparative more willy-nilly, superlative most willy-nilly)

  1. vacillating

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Willy-nilly, World Wide Words, by Michael Quinion