[ wil-ee-wil-ee ]

noun,plural wil·ly-wil·lies.Australian,Meteorology.
  1. dust devil: A column of dust, held aloft by a willy-willy, rises high into the air in South Australia.

  2. tropical cyclone: another willy-willy forming over the Timor Sea.

Origin of willy-willy

First recorded in 1890–95; of obscure origin; probably from an Australian Aboriginal language

Words Nearby willy-willy

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use willy-willy in a sentence

  • Willy—Willy, wake up; there's some one moving around outdoors.

    Two Little Confederates | Thomas Nelson Page
  • Evidently he had just arrived in White Cliffs, and had not yet been in a willy-willy (sand-storm).

    In Search of El Dorado | Alexander MacDonald
  • A third cries, mournfully, "Willy-come-go, willy-willy-willy-come-go."

    Wanderings in South America | Charles Waterton

British Dictionary definitions for willy-willy


/ (ˈwɪlɪˈwɪlɪ) /

  1. a duststorm

  2. obsolete a tropical cyclone

Origin of willy-willy

from a native Australian language

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