Willy-nilly Meaning & Sentence Examples

Willy-nilly Definition, Sentence Examples

WILLY-NILLY MEANING – Find out what willy-nilly really means. Example sentences of this idiomatic expression can also be found here.

The idiom “willy-nilly” is a shortened version of the slang expressions “will I, nill I,” “will he, nill he,” and “will ye, nill ye.”

The Old English word “nill,” which combines the characters “ne” (meaning no) and “willan” (will) is the source of the term “nill”. Nill denoted the absence of desire. The current concept gradually developed from the initial definition, which was “whether a person likes it or not.”



  • anything that takes place when none of the parties concerned want it to.
  • to act, regardless of your willingness or reluctance to do so.
  • to act haphazardly and without thought.
  • without rhyme or purpose.
  • haphazardly.
  • prepared or not.
  • having no option.

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Photo Source: Backstage

Here are examples of sentences that use willy-nilly:

  1. Karen threw her clothes willy-nilly into a drawer.
  2. Avoid making purchases with your credit card willy-nilly.
  3. Hugh listed the items willy-nilly without regard for how they were loaded.
  4. The church is being forced to deal with current social issues willy-nilly.

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