Will Will, v. t. & auxiliary. [imp. {Would}. Indic. present, I will (Obs. I wol), thou wilt, he will (Obs. he wol); we, ye, they will.] [OE. willen, imp. wolde; akin to OS. willan, OFries. willa, D. willen, G. wollen, OHG. wollan, wellan, Icel. & Sw. vilja, Dan. ville, Goth. wiljan, OSlav. voliti, L. velle to wish, volo I wish; cf. Skr. v[.r] to choose, to prefer. Cf. {Voluntary}, {Welcome}, {Well}, adv.] [1913 Webster] 1. To wish; to desire; to incline to have. [1913 Webster]

A wife as of herself no thing ne sholde [should] Wille in effect, but as her husband wolde [would]. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

Caleb said unto her, What will thou ? --Judg. i. 14. [1913 Webster]

They would none of my counsel. --Prov. i. 30. [1913 Webster]

2. As an auxiliary, will is used to denote futurity dependent on the verb. Thus, in first person, ``I will'' denotes willingness, consent, promise; and when ``will'' is emphasized, it denotes determination or fixed purpose; as, I will go if you wish; I will go at all hazards. In the second and third persons, the idea of distinct volition, wish, or purpose is evanescent, and simple certainty is appropriately expressed; as, ``You will go,'' or ``He will go,'' describes a future event as a fact only. To emphasize will denotes (according to the tone or context) certain futurity or fixed determination. [1913 Webster]

Note: Will, auxiliary, may be used elliptically for will go. ``I'll to her lodgings.'' --Marlowe. [1913 Webster]

Note: As in shall (which see), the second and third persons may be virtually converted into the first, either by question or indirect statement, so as to receive the meaning which belongs to will in that person; thus, ``Will you go?'' (answer, ``I will go'') asks assent, requests, etc.; while ``Will he go?'' simply inquires concerning futurity; thus, also,``He says or thinks he will go,'' ``You say or think you will go,'' both signify willingness or consent. [1913 Webster]

Note: Would, as the preterit of will, is chiefly employed in conditional, subjunctive, or optative senses; as, he would go if he could; he could go if he would; he said that he would go; I would fain go, but can not; I would that I were young again; and other like phrases. In the last use, the first personal pronoun is often omitted; as, would that he were here; would to Heaven that it were so; and, omitting the to in such an adjuration. ``Would God I had died for thee.'' Would is used for both present and future time, in conditional propositions, and would have for past time; as, he would go now if he were ready; if it should rain, he would not go; he would have gone, had he been able. Would not, as also will not, signifies refusal. ``He was angry, and would not go in.'' --Luke xv. 28. Would is never a past participle. [1913 Webster]

Note: In Ireland, Scotland, and the United States, especially in the southern and western portions of the United States, shall and will, should and would, are often misused, as in the following examples: [1913 Webster]

I am able to devote as much time and attention to other subjects as I will [shall] be under the necessity of doing next winter. --Chalmers. [1913 Webster]

A countryman, telling us what he had seen, remarked that if the conflagration went on, as it was doing, we would [should] have, as our next season's employment, the Old Town of Edinburgh to rebuild. --H. Miller. [1913 Webster]

I feel assured that I will [shall] not have the misfortune to find conflicting views held by one so enlightened as your excellency. --J. Y. Mason. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

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