disposed or consenting; inclined: willing to go along.
cheerfully consenting or ready: a willing worker.
done, given, borne, used, etc., with cheerful readiness.

Origin of willing

1250–1300; Middle English. See will2, -ing2
Related formswill·ing·ly, adverbwill·ing·ness, nouno·ver·will·ing, adjectiveo·ver·will·ing·ly, adverbo·ver·will·ing·ness, nounpre·will·ing, adjectivepre·will·ing·ly, adverbpre·will·ing·ness, nounqua·si-will·ing, adjectivequa·si-will·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for willing

1. minded.



auxiliary verb, present singular 1st person will, 2nd will or (Archaic) wilt, 3rd will, present plural will; past singular 1st person would, 2nd would or (Archaic) wouldst, 3rd would, past plural would; past participle (Obsolete) wold or would; imperative, infinitive, and present participle lacking.

am (is, are, etc.) about or going to: I will be there tomorrow. She will see you at dinner.
am (is, are, etc.) disposed or willing to: People will do right.
am (is, are, etc.) expected or required to: You will report to the principal at once.
may be expected or supposed to: You will not have forgotten him. This will be right.
am (is, are, etc.) determined or sure to (used emphatically): You would do it. People will talk.
am (is, are, etc.) accustomed to, or do usually or often: You will often see her sitting there. He would write for hours at a time.
am (is, are, etc.) habitually disposed or inclined to: Boys will be boys. After dinner they would read aloud.
am (is, are, etc.) capable of; can: This tree will live without water for three months.
am (is, are, etc.) going to: I will bid you “Good night.”

verb (used with or without object), present singular 1st person will, 2nd will or (Archaic) wilt, 3rd will, present plural will; past singular 1st person would, 2nd would or (Archaic) wouldst, 3rd would, past plural would; past participle (Obsolete) wold or would; imperative, infinitive, and present participle lacking.

to wish; desire; like: Go where you will. Ask, if you will, who the owner is.

Origin of will

before 900; Middle English willen, Old English wyllan; cognate with Dutch willen, German wollen, Old Norse vilja, Gothic wiljan; akin to Latin velle to wish
Can be confusedcan may shall will (see usage note at can1) (see usage note at shall)

Usage note

See shall.




the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; the power of control the mind has over its own actions: the freedom of the will.
power of choosing one's own actions: to have a strong or a weak will.
the act or process of using or asserting one's choice; volition: My hands are obedient to my will.
wish or desire: to submit against one's will.
purpose or determination, often hearty or stubborn determination; willfulness: to have the will to succeed.
the wish or purpose as carried out, or to be carried out: to work one's will.
disposition, whether good or ill, toward another.
  1. 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.
  2. the document containing such a declaration.

verb (used with object), willed, will·ing.

to decide, bring about, or attempt to effect or bring about by an act of the will: He can walk if he wills it.
to purpose, determine on, or elect, by an act of will: If he wills success, he can find it.
to give or dispose of (property) by a will or testament; bequeath or devise.
to influence by exerting control over someone's impulses and actions: She was willed to walk the tightrope by the hypnotist.

verb (used without object), willed, will·ing.

to exercise the will: To will is not enough, one must do.
to decide or determine: Others debate, but the king wills.

Origin of will

before 900; (noun) Middle English will(e), Old English will(a); cognate with Dutch wil, German Wille, Old Norse vili, Gothic wilja; (v.) Middle English willen, Old English willian to wish, desire, derivative of the noun; akin to will1
Related formswill·er, noun

Synonyms for will

3. choice. 4. pleasure, disposition, inclination. 5. resolution, decision. Will, volition refer to conscious choice as to action or thought. Will denotes fixed and persistent intent or purpose: Where there's a will there's a way. Volition is the power of forming an intention or the incentive for using the will: to exercise one's volition in making a decision. 9. determine. 11. leave.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for willing

Contemporary Examples of willing

Historical Examples of willing

  • But am I so fortunate as to find you willing to return with me?


    Lydia Maria Child

  • If this be the test, I am willing to be tried with Hipparete at the court of the Muses.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Some time, when you are willing, you shall tell me all about it.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • I can only say that if my services are required I shall be found ready and willing.

  • He was rich and he was willing to take the daughter without a single penny.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

British Dictionary definitions for willing



favourably disposed or inclined; ready
cheerfully or eagerly compliant
done, given, accepted, etc, freely or voluntarily
Derived Formswillingly, adverbwillingness, noun



verb past would (takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive)

(esp with you, he, she, it, they, or a noun as subject) used as an auxiliary to make the future tenseCompare shall (def. 1)
used as an auxiliary to express resolution on the part of the speakerI will buy that radio if it's the last thing I do
used as an auxiliary to indicate willingness or desirewill you help me with this problem?
used as an auxiliary to express compulsion, as in commandsyou will report your findings to me tomorrow
used as an auxiliary to express capacity or abilitythis rope will support a load
used as an auxiliary to express probability or expectation on the part of the speakerthat will be Jim telephoning
used as an auxiliary to express customary practice or inevitabilityboys will be boys
(with the infinitive always implied) used as an auxiliary to express desire: usually in polite requestsstay if you will
what you will whatever you like
will do informal a declaration of willingness to do what is requested

Word Origin for will

Old English willan; related to Old Saxon willian, Old Norse vilja, Old High German wollen, Latin velle to wish, will


See shall




the faculty of conscious and deliberate choice of action; volitionRelated adjectives: voluntary, volitive
the act or an instance of asserting a choice
  1. the declaration of a person's wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property after deathRelated adjective: testamentary
  2. a revocable instrument by which such wishes are expressed
anything decided upon or chosen, esp by a person in authority; desire; wish
determined intentionwhere there's a will there's a way
disposition or attitude towards othershe bears you no ill will
at will at one's own desire, inclination, or choice
with a will heartily; energetically
with the best will in the world even with the best of intentions

verb (mainly tr; often takes a clause as object or an infinitive)

(also intr) to exercise the faculty of volition in an attempt to accomplish (something)he willed his wife's recovery from her illness
to give (property) by will to a person, society, etche willed his art collection to the nation
(also intr) to order or decreethe king wills that you shall die
to choose or preferwander where you will
to yearn for or desireto will that one's friends be happy
Derived Formswiller, noun

Word Origin for will

Old English willa; related to Old Norse vili, Old High German willeo (German Wille), Gothic wilja, Old Slavonic volja
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for willing

Old English willendliche; see will (v.).



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with willing


see ready, willing, and able; spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.


In addition to the idiom beginning with will

  • will not hear of

also see:

  • 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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.