(Bold emphasis mine)



  1. (rare, transitive) To wish, desire (something). [9th-18th c.]
    "Do what you will."

  2. (rare, intransitive) To wish or desire (that something happen); to intend (that). [9th-19th c.]

My first reaction was "Rare? It's not rare!"

I checked 4 real dictionaries, and none of them says "rare". Wiktionary entries are usually copied from real dictionaries, right?

Is there any academic basis for these two "rare" labels?

Examples added later:

How about ... [I'm willing to take this job.]

My paper dictionary has for vt. (non-aux.) [Call it what you will]

"...he willed himself into winning a game for us."
"...There were eight to 10 games where he basically willed his teammates into winning games."
"...The defensive specialist has willed himself into becoming quite the hitter."

I think that being in a place like Venice — it's this impossible city that, in some ways, shouldn't even exist because it's a city built on water that was willed into existence

  • Well, I assume they say it is rare meaning it is rarely used as a verb. You must be mistaking it with will as an auxiliary (which is a diferent usage)
    – Luke
    Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 5:32
  • 1
    I agree, it's not that rare. Certainly far from archaic.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


I will that you come to my beach volleyball party.

with will meaning wish or desire is, indeed, a rare usage.

The sentence

I'm willing to take this job

does not mean Wikitionary 1 to wish or desire.

Likewise, to will oneself or others into to something is not to wish or to desire oneself or others, it is

to use one's will to accomplish something.

Venice wasn't "wished" into existence, it came into existence through sheer "willpower" or "willingness."


Wordfreference.com lists it as archaic in the context of 'as you will.'

You will most likely hear this in medieval stories (written in modern day) or relationship circles that deal with dominance and submission.

'If you will,' 'as you will,' and 'only if you will.'

(Roughly translated, 'not really,' 'yes,' and 'I really don't want to.')

No reference for the last part as I don't think it would be becoming for this site.

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