How did the term willy-nilly come from?

The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology says it’s a contraction of “will I, nill I” or “will he, nill he” or “will ye, nill ye.” The word “nill” is from the Old English “nyllan,” a combination of “ne” (no) and “willan” (will). The phrase “willy-nilly” means “unwillingly” or “haphazardly.”

What is the expression willy-nilly mean?

1 : by compulsion : without choice.

Who is willy-nilly?

in a disorganized or unplanned manner; sloppily. whether one wishes to or not; willingly or unwillingly: He’ll have to do it willy-nilly. adjective. shilly-shallying; vacillating.

Is Willy-Nilly an idiom?

1 do something whether you want to or not: She was forced willy-nilly to accept the company’s proposals. 2 do something in a careless way without planning: Don’t just use your credit card willy-nilly. This expression is a shortened form of ‘willing or not willing’.

What does hokum mean in English?

1 : a device used (as by showmen) to evoke a desired audience response. 2 : pretentious nonsense : bunkum. Synonyms Example Sentences Learn More About hokum.

What does the idiom cash cow mean?

1 : a consistently profitable business, property, or product whose profits are used to finance a company’s investments in other areas. 2 : one regarded or exploited as a reliable source of money a singer deemed a cash cow for the record label.

What does it mean if something is moot?

The meaning of ‘moot’ is a moot point – whichever variety of English you speak. Later a moot point, initially a legal issue, became used more widely to mean one that was open to argument, debatable or uncertain.

What language is hokum?

hokum | Intermediate English nonsense: This report on the causes of crime is pure hokum.

Can a person be called a cash cow?

English Language Learners Definition of cash cow : someone or something that makes a lot of money for a business, organization, etc.

What is the true meaning of moot point?

What was the original meaning of the phrase willy nilly?

its original meaning. The second, ‘in an undecided, haphazard manner’, meaning of willy-nilly arrives from the first. The changeable ‘this way, then that way’ imagery of willy-nilly behaviour fits with our current ‘haphazard’ meaning of the term.

Which is the correct spelling Wille we or Nill we?

There are many spellings in early citations, which relate to the ‘with or against your will’ meaning of the phrase – ‘wille we, nelle we’, ‘will he, nill he’, ‘will I, nill I’, etc. The expression also appears later as ‘nilly willy’ or ‘willing, nilling’, or even, in a later humorous version ‘william…

Where does the phrase’hitty missy’come from?

There’s also a, now archaic, phrase ‘hitty missy’ that had a similar derivation. That comes from ‘hit he, miss he’. The phrase dates back at least a millennium, with the earliest known version being the Old English text, Aelfric’s Lives of Saints, circa 1000: