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90s Slang You Should Know


[nil] /nɪl/ Archaic.
verb (used without object), nilled, nilling.
to be unwilling:
will he, nill he.
verb (used with object), nilled, nilling.
to refuse or reject.
Origin of nill
before 900; Middle English nillen, Old English nyllan, contraction of phrase ne willan; see no1, will1, willy-nilly Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for nill
Historical Examples
  • People have to eat will they nill they, that they may not betray themselves.

  • "nill ye, will ye," one-half of Scotland already give your songs to other authors.

  • Will he nill he, all that happens in heaven he needs must see.

    Apocolocyntosis Lucius Seneca
  • As it nis good, I nill say—or sain, instead of it is not good—I will not say.

    Chaucer for Children Mrs. H. R. Haweis
  • With the love that Connachar had for her, he wanted to marry Deirdre right off there and then, will she nill she marry him.

  • Will you nill you, the men-at-arms will follow me to victory!

    Joan of Arc Laura E. Richards
  • He was carried—will he, nill he—in triumph toward the inn of Mrs. MacAlpine.

    Red Cap Tales Samuel Rutherford Crockett
  • Whence then came I to will evil and nill good, so that I am thus justly punished?

  • He means to represent it as a wilful act, and of course without any mixture of nill or nolens in it.

    Hamlet William Shakespeare
  • I take not on me to say we can command the saints, and will they nill they, can draw corporal virtue from their blest remains.

Word Origin and History for nill

Old English nylle, nelle "to be unwilling," from ne "no" (see no) + will (v.). Often paired with will; the construction in nill he, will he, once common, attested from c.1300, surviving principally in willy-nilly, which, however, reverses the usual Middle English word order. Latin expressed a similar idea in nolens volens.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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