Middle English Dictionary Entry

wil(le n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. awille adv., inwille n., iwil(le n., unwil(le n.
(a) The appetitive and volitional faculty of the soul;—often as contrasted with reason, imagination, etc.; also in fig. context; also person.; volition; also, the soul in its appetitive operations; (b) the will, variously associated in triplets with memory and intelligence, mind and understanding, etc., conceived as the three constituent faculties of the soul and usu. regarded as analogues or images of the Holy Trinity [cp. sense 9.(b)]; (c) theol. fre (fredom of) ~, etc., the liberty granted the human soul to act without divine constraint; also, the unconstrained will; liberte of fre ~.
(a) A disposition; an inclination; an urge; also, the urging of appetite; gen. willes, used predicatively: inclined; (b) carnal desire or craving, esp. sexual lust; also person.; also, a carnal desire, craving etc.; ~ of the flesh, fleshliche ~, etc.; ivel (lithere, etc.) ~; (c) med. & physiol. a natural tendency; an urgent physical need; also, a natural drive or an instinctual urge; bi his ouen god ~, on its own, of its own accord.
In selected prep. phrases: (a) at ~, according to (one’s) desires; as or when one likes; as desired;—sometimes used in polite formula; also, wantonly; of wind, weather conditions, etc.: desirable, favorable; (b) in ~, desirous; also, inclined;—usu. with inf.; in a ~, inclined (to do sth.); (c) to ~, according to (one’s) desire or discretion; as much as desired, to one’s satisfaction; (d) after (here, his, etc.) ~; ayen (ayenes) hire (his, etc.) ~; on ~, of wind, weather conditions, etc.: desirable, favorable.
(a) That which one wants or requires, a desire; also in prov. expressions; also, that which suits one’s pleasure; don (werken) ~; haven ~; (b) an expression of desire, a petition, a bidding; also, an expressed preference, opinion; (c) that which one desires sexually; comen to ~; (d) a desired amount of something; as much as one desires, one’s fill of something; (e) in polite formulas: if thin ~ is (be), if hit is your ~, if your willes be, etc., if you please; also, with diminished semantic content: while his ~ was, ther-whiles his ~ be, as long as he pleased; (f) in selected prep. phrases: after (at, bi, in, to) ~, according to (one’s) command or bidding; at one’s request.
Gratification, satisfaction; joy, happiness, pleasure; also, a joy; at ~, pleasingly; also, pleased; in ~, joyfully, gladly; oute of ~, unsatisfactory, offensive.
(a) Intention, purpose; a plan, project; also, the import of a discourse or the intended meaning of a text; of (with) ~, intentionally, deliberately; (b) a mental state that permits or precipitates deliberate action; resolve, determination; spirit, courage; also, attitude, mood; of (with) ~, fervently, wholeheartedly, spiritedly; of on ~, unanimously; with no ~, despite great determination; (c) willfulness, obstinacy; also in fig. context; also in prov. expressions; ouen ~, q.v.; with ~, gratuitously.
In selected phrases and collocations: (a) at ~, in accord with (one’s) intentions, plans, etc.; as intended, deliberately; also, at (one’s) discretion; welden at ~, to rule (subjects) absolutely; (b) bi ~, through (one’s own) determination; for here ~, at their discretion; in ~, with the intention (to do sth.); of ~ of, committed to (sth.); (c) to ~, purposefully; (d) god ~, good intention [see also god wille phr. & n. 2.(a)]; mid (with) god ~, in the proper spirit; readily, cheerfully [see also god wille phr. & n. 2.(c)]; with the bettre ~, more readily; with a light ~, jauntily; (e) ivel (wikkede, etc.) ~, perverse intention, misdirected will; (f) in ~ word ne dede, in werk ne ~ ne thought, bi ~ ne word, etc., in no way; in ~ in werk in dede and in thought, with ~ word and dede, in all ways.
(a) Moral disposition, temperament; inner nature, spirit; also, bearing, countenance; of long ~, patient; (b) devotion, affection; also, favor; (c) in selected collocations: evene ~, equanimity; god ~, benevolence; also, piety, virtue [see also god wille phr. & n. 1.]; il ~ [see il wil(le phr. & n. (a)]; ivel (wikkede) ~, malevolence, hostility [see also ivel-wille n.].
(a) The action or exercise of volition; a conscious choice, a willing acquiescence; permission, consent; of his (fre) ~, voluntarily, freely, by choice; also, in adv. phrase: al here ouen ~, of their own volition; (b) gen. willes, usu. with poss. pron.: of his (my) own volition, voluntarily; freely [cp. willes adv.]; also, used predicatively: voluntary; ben willes (and weldes, ben wakinge and willes; (c) in selected prep. phrases: at (of) ~, voluntarily, freely; also, law with ref. to the demise of property: as long as it is suitable; at ~ of, by consent of (sb.).
Power, authority, dominion; control, disposal; also, jurisdiction; at (to) ~, under (one’s) control; at one’s disposal.
(a) That which God has ordained, the divine dispensation for the universe; the divine creative impulse; the disposition of the universe [quot. c1450(?a1400)]; also, a divine act of willing or an expression of God’s will; also in pagan context [quot. c1275]; gen. willes, used predicatively: willing [quot. a1400, 2nd]; (b) in some expositions of Trinitarian theology, the Holy Spirit, conceived as the supreme exponent of the divine will; (c) on goddes ~, for drihtenes ~, for the love of God, for God’s sake.
In cpds. and combs. with following nouns [cp. wille adj.]: (a) ~ dai [OE wil-dæg], a welcome day, a glad day; ~ game, a diversion, sport, pastime; ~ spel [OE wil-spell], ~ tidinge, agreeable news, a welcome report; (b) ~ shrift, voluntary confession; ~ silver, q.v.; ~ yeve, a freely bestowed gift.
In other combs.: ~ come [see welcom(e adj.], ~ comen [see welcomen v.(1)], etc.; ~ queme, pleased, satisfied, content [cp. wel-queme adj.]; ~ wesand [see wil-wesand adv.]; ~ yerne, characterized by willfulness, defiant; self ~, q.v.
(a) Explicit instructions for the disposition of a person’s possessions, property, etc. after death, usu. recorded as a formal written instrument; last ~; ~ nuncupatif, a last will originally made orally and only later put into written form, prob. by witnesses; (b) the desires or intentions expressed in a legal will; last ~; (c) a bequest made in a will;—perh. with punning ref. to wele n.(1).
In personal names and surnames; also in place name [quot. 1327 Name].