willy-nilly


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Related to willy-nilly: pithy, haphazardly, succinctly

wil·ly-nil·ly

(wĭl′ē-nĭl′ē)
adv.
1. Whether desired or not: After her boss fell sick, she willy-nilly found herself directing the project.
2. Without order or plan; haphazardly: "We laid our sleeping bags out willy-nilly, as if having fallen from the stars" (Rick Bass).
adj.
1. Being or occurring whether desired or not: willy-nilly cooperation.
2. Disordered; haphazard: willy-nilly zoning laws.

[Alteration of will ye (or he or I), nill ye (or he or I), be you (or he or I) willing, be you (or he or I) unwilling.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

willy-nilly

(ˌwɪlɪˈnɪlɪ)
adv
1. whether desired or not
2. haphazardly
adj
3. occurring or taking place whether desired or not
4. occurring haphazardly
[Old English wile hē, nyle hē, literally: will he or will he not; nyle, from ne not + willan to will1]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

wil•ly-nil•ly

(ˈwɪl iˈnɪl i)

adv.
1. whether one wishes to or not; willingly or unwillingly.
2. in a disorganized or unplanned manner; sloppily.
adj.
3. shilly-shallying; vacillating.
4. disorganized; unplanned; sloppy.
[1600–10; from the phrase will ye, nill ye. See will1, nill]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.willy-nilly - in a random mannerwilly-nilly - in a random manner; "the houses were randomly scattered"; "bullets were fired into the crowd at random"
2.willy-nilly - without having a choice
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

willy-nilly

adverb
1. whether you like it or not, necessarily, of necessity, perforce, whether or no, whether desired or not, nolens volens (Latin) We were dragged willy-nilly into the argument.
2. haphazardly, at random, randomly, without order, without method, without planning, any old how (informal) The papers were just bundled into the drawers willy-nilly.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002

willy-nilly

adverb
Without regard to desire or inclination:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Translations

willy-nilly

[ˈwɪlɪˈnɪlɪ] ADV
1. (= unsystematically) → de cualquier manera
2. (= willingly or not) → quiérase o no, guste o no guste
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005

willy-nilly

[ˌwɪliˈnɪli] adv
(= in a disorganized way) → pêle-mêle
(= whether sb wants or not) → bon gré mal gré
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

willy-nilly

adv
(= at random) choose, allocateaufs Geratewohl; acceptwahllos, ohne Weiteres
(= willingly or not)wohl oder übel, nolens volens
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007

willy-nilly

[ˌwɪlɪˈnɪlɪ] advvolente o nolente
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
They are too many, and willy-nilly they'll drag down the would-be equestrian before ever he gets astride.
Thus the skillful general conducts his army just as though he were leading a single man, willy-nilly, by the hand.
He had made them sit up and take notice, and now, willy-nilly, they were dealing him hands and clamoring for him to play.
But now White Logic willy-nilly wakes them for me, for White Logic, most valiant, is unafraid of all the monsters of the earthly dream.
There is no need of going into an extended recital of our suffering in the small boat during the many days we were driven and drifted, here and there, willy-nilly, across the ocean.
The perfidious deceiver was, as may plainly be perceived, already sacrificing, in intention, the poor girl in order to obtain Milady, willy-nilly.
Well, William had to turn about and play on, willy-nilly; and 'twas only three o'clock in the world, and 'a knowed that nobody would come that way for hours, and he so leery and tired that 'a didn't know what to do.
I have seen her dive from the bridge deck--no mean feat in itself--into that six-feet of water, and fetch up no less than forty-seven coins, scattered willy-nilly over the whole bottom of the tank.
Then he led the Sheriff, willy-nilly, to the seat he knew so well beneath the greenwood tree.
At such moments he even closed his eyes and allowed his body to be hurled hither and thither, willy-nilly, careless of any hurt that might thereby come to it.
Into the militia you would go, willy-nilly. Habeas corpus, I heard some one mutter just now.
He abruptly ceased, for at that moment, to enforce his remark, he had placed his hand on Planchette, and at that moment his hand had been seized, as by a paroxysm, and sent dashing, willy-nilly, across the paper, writing as the hand of an angry person would write.