- a legal declaration of a person's wishes as to the disposition of his or her property or estate after death, usually written and signed by the testator and attested by witnesses.
- the document containing such a declaration.
verb (used with object), willed, will·ing.
verb (used without object), willed, will·ing.
- at one's discretion or pleasure; as one desires: to wander at will through the countryside.
- at one's disposal or command.
Origin of will2
Synonyms for will
Related Words for at willcandidly, willingly, voluntarily, openly, improvise, extemporize, impromptu, improvised, extemporaneous, extempore, made-up, spontaneous, unprepared, unrehearsed, off-the-cuff, advisedly, deliberately, designedly, fancy-free, frankly
verb past would (takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive)
Word Origin for will
- the declaration of a person's wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property after deathRelated adjective: testamentary
- a revocable instrument by which such wishes are expressed
verb (mainly tr; often takes a clause as object or an infinitive)
Word Origin for will
Old English *willan, wyllan "to wish, desire, want" (past tense wolde), from Proto-Germanic *welljan (cf. Old Saxon willian, Old Norse vilja, Old Frisian willa, Dutch willen, Old High German wellan, German wollen, Gothic wiljan "to will, wish, desire," Gothic waljan "to choose"). The Germanic words are from PIE *wel-/*wol- "be pleasing" (cf. Sanskrit vrnoti "chooses, prefers," varyah "to be chosen, eligible, excellent," varanam "choosing;" Avestan verenav- "to wish, will, choose;" Greek elpis "hope;" Latin volo, velle "to wish, will, desire;" Old Church Slavonic voljo, voliti "to will," veljo, veleti "to command;" Lithuanian velyti "to wish, favor," pa-vel-mi "I will," viliuos "I hope;" Welsh gwell "better").
Cf. also Old English wel "well," literally "according to one's wish;" wela "well-being, riches." The use as a future auxiliary was already developing in Old English. The implication of intention or volition distinguishes it from shall, which expresses or implies obligation or necessity. Contracted forms, especially after pronouns, began to appear 16c., as in sheele for "she will." The form with an apostrophe is from 17c.
Old English will, willa, from Proto-Germanic *weljon (cf. Old Saxon willio, Old Norse vili, Old Frisian willa, Dutch wil, Old High German willio, German wille, Gothic wilja "will"), related to *willan "to wish" (see will (v.)). The meaning "written document expressing a person's wishes about disposition of property after death" is first recorded late 14c.
Freely, as one pleases, as in The grounds are open to the public and one can wander about at will, or With this thermostat you can adjust the room temperature at will. [1300s]
In addition to the idiom beginning with will
- will not hear of
- against one's will
- at will
- boys will be boys
- heads (will) roll
- murder will out
- of one's own accord (free will)
- shit will hit the fan
- that will do
- time will tell
- truth will out
- when the cat's away, mice will play
- where there's a will
- with a will
- with the best will in the world
- wonders will never cease