• synonyms


[woo dst, woo tst]
verb Archaic.
  1. 2nd person singular past of will1.
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Also would·est [woo d-ist] /ˈwʊd ɪst/.


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.
  1. am (is, are, etc.) about or going to: I will be there tomorrow. She will see you at dinner.
  2. am (is, are, etc.) disposed or willing to: People will do right.
  3. am (is, are, etc.) expected or required to: You will report to the principal at once.
  4. may be expected or supposed to: You will not have forgotten him. This will be right.
  5. am (is, are, etc.) determined or sure to (used emphatically): You would do it. People will talk.
  6. 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.
  7. am (is, are, etc.) habitually disposed or inclined to: Boys will be boys. After dinner they would read aloud.
  8. am (is, are, etc.) capable of; can: This tree will live without water for three months.
  9. am (is, are, etc.) going to: I will bid you “Good night.”
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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.
  1. to wish; desire; like: Go where you will. Ask, if you will, who the owner is.
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Origin of will1

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.


  1. 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.
  2. power of choosing one's own actions: to have a strong or a weak will.
  3. the act or process of using or asserting one's choice; volition: My hands are obedient to my will.
  4. wish or desire: to submit against one's will.
  5. purpose or determination, often hearty or stubborn determination; willfulness: to have the will to succeed.
  6. the wish or purpose as carried out, or to be carried out: to work one's will.
  7. disposition, whether good or ill, toward another.
  8. Law.
    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.
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verb (used with object), willed, will·ing.
  1. to decide, bring about, or attempt to effect or bring about by an act of the will: He can walk if he wills it.
  2. to purpose, determine on, or elect, by an act of will: If he wills success, he can find it.
  3. to give or dispose of (property) by a will or testament; bequeath or devise.
  4. to influence by exerting control over someone's impulses and actions: She was willed to walk the tightrope by the hypnotist.
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verb (used without object), willed, will·ing.
  1. to exercise the will: To will is not enough, one must do.
  2. to decide or determine: Others debate, but the king wills.
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  1. at will,
    1. at one's discretion or pleasure; as one desires: to wander at will through the countryside.
    2. at one's disposal or command.
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Origin of will2

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


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. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for wouldst

Historical Examples

  • "Thou at least wouldst be content, thou fount of malice," growled Asad.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • Here am I, Peter, and what wouldst thou with me in such haste?

    Standish of Standish

    Jane G. Austin

  • Wouldst thou be so uncivil as to say no to her invitation, if she sent to thee, to come?

  • It would be a happiness to me; and thou, too, Romola, wouldst be the happier for it.


    George Eliot

  • Wouldst thou have blessings showered on thee, yet do no good?

British Dictionary definitions for wouldst


  1. archaic, or dialect (used with the pronoun thou or its relative equivalent) a singular form of the past tense of will 1
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verb past would (takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive)
  1. (esp with you, he, she, it, they, or a noun as subject) used as an auxiliary to make the future tenseCompare shall (def. 1)
  2. 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
  3. used as an auxiliary to indicate willingness or desirewill you help me with this problem?
  4. used as an auxiliary to express compulsion, as in commandsyou will report your findings to me tomorrow
  5. used as an auxiliary to express capacity or abilitythis rope will support a load
  6. used as an auxiliary to express probability or expectation on the part of the speakerthat will be Jim telephoning
  7. used as an auxiliary to express customary practice or inevitabilityboys will be boys
  8. (with the infinitive always implied) used as an auxiliary to express desire: usually in polite requestsstay if you will
  9. what you will whatever you like
  10. will do informal a declaration of willingness to do what is requested
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Word Origin

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


See shall


  1. the faculty of conscious and deliberate choice of action; volitionRelated adjectives: voluntary, volitive
  2. 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
  3. anything decided upon or chosen, esp by a person in authority; desire; wish
  4. determined intentionwhere there's a will there's a way
  5. disposition or attitude towards othershe bears you no ill will
  6. at will at one's own desire, inclination, or choice
  7. with a will heartily; energetically
  8. with the best will in the world even with the best of intentions
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verb (mainly tr; often takes a clause as object or an infinitive)
  1. (also intr) to exercise the faculty of volition in an attempt to accomplish (something)he willed his wife's recovery from her illness
  2. to give (property) by will to a person, society, etche willed his art collection to the nation
  3. (also intr) to order or decreethe king wills that you shall die
  4. to choose or preferwander where you will
  5. to yearn for or desireto will that one's friends be happy
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Derived Formswiller, noun

Word Origin

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 wouldst



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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wouldst


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