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nill

[nil] /nɪl/ Archaic.
verb (used without object), nilled, nilling.
1.
to be unwilling:
will he, nill he.
verb (used with object), nilled, nilling.
2.
to refuse or reject.
Origin of nill
900
before 900; Middle English nillen, Old English nyllan, contraction of phrase ne willan; see no1, will1, willy-nilly
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for nill
Historical Examples
  • "nill ye, will ye," one-half of Scotland already give your songs to other authors.

  • He was carried—will he, nill he—in triumph toward the inn of Mrs. MacAlpine.

    Red Cap Tales Samuel Rutherford Crockett
  • We are marching on, and will we, nill we, must conquer or perish.

  • People have to eat will they nill they, that they may not betray themselves.

  • 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
  • This phrase, “will he nill he,” occurs nowhere else in the plays.

    The Little Cryptogram J. Gilfin Pyle
  • Will you nill you, the men-at-arms will follow me to victory!

    Joan of Arc Laura E. Richards
  • Will he nill he, all that happens in heaven he needs must see.

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

    Hamlet William Shakespeare
  • For the capital of a strongly centralized empire is always full of strangers, come will they nill they on their several affairs.

    Travels in Arabia Bayard Taylor
Word Origin and History for nill
v.

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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