Meaning of WILL in English


I. will 1 S1 W1 /wɪl/ BrE AmE modal verb ( negative short form won’t )

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: wille , from wyllan 'to wish for, want, intend to' ]

1 . FUTURE used to make future tenses:

A meeting will be held next Tuesday at 3 p.m.

What time will she arrive?

I hope they won’t be late.

Maybe by then you will have changed your mind.

2 . WILLING TO DO SOMETHING used to show that someone is willing or ready to do something:

Dr Weir will see you now.

The baby won’t eat anything.

3 . REQUESTING spoken used to ask someone to do something:

Will you phone me later?

Shut the door, will you?

4 . WHAT GENERALLY HAPPENS used to say what always happens in a particular situation or what is generally true:

Oil will float on water.

Accidents will happen.

5 . POSSIBILITY used like ‘can’ to show what is possible:

This car will hold five people comfortably.

6 . BELIEF used to say that you think something is true:

That will be Tim coming home now.

As you will have noticed, there are some gaps in the data.

7 . GIVING ORDERS spoken used to give an order or to state a rule:

Will you be quiet!

You will do as I say.

Every employee will carry an identity card at all times.

8 . OFFERING/INVITING spoken used to offer something to someone or to invite them to do something:

Will you have some more tea?

Won’t you have a seat?

9 . ANNOYING HABIT spoken used to describe someone’s habits, especially when you think they are annoying:

Trish will keep asking damn silly questions.

• • •


When you are reporting what someone said, thought etc, will usually changes to would :

My brother said he would help me.

If the event is still in the future, will is sometimes used, especially after a present perfect tense:

The Minister has said that he will publish the report soon.

II. will 2 S2 W2 BrE AmE noun

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: willa 'will, desire' ]

1 . DETERMINATION [uncountable and countable] determination to do something that you have decided to do, even if this is difficult:

Children sometimes have strong wills.

the will to do something

Even though she was in terrible pain, Mary never lost the will to live.

⇨ ↑ strong-willed , ↑ weak-willed

2 . LEGAL DOCUMENT [countable] a legal document that says who you want your money and property to be given to after you die:

Have you made a will yet?

in sb’s will

My grandfather left me some money in his will.

the senator’s last will and testament

3 . WHAT SOMEBODY WANTS [singular] what someone wants to happen in a particular situation:

He accused her of trying to impose her will on others.

against your will

Collier claims the police forced him to sign a confession against his will.

will of

the will of the people

obedience to God’s will

⇨ ↑ free will

4 . with the best will in the world British English spoken used to say that something is not possible, even if you very much want to do it:

With the best will in the world, I don’t see what more I can do.

5 . where there’s a will there’s a way spoken used to say that if you really want to do something, you will find a way to succeed

6 . at will whenever you want and in whatever way you want:

He can’t just fire people at will, can he?

7 . with a will written in an eager and determined way

⇨ ↑ goodwill , ↑ ill will

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ adjectives

▪ a strong will

She had a very strong will and a clear sense of purpose.

▪ an indomitable will (=a strong will which means you do not give in)

The indomitable will of the people remains the core strength of democracy.

▪ a weak will

It's a myth that people are fat because of a weak will.

▪ an iron will ( also a will of iron ) (=an extremely strong will)

Her unassuming manner concealed an iron will.

▪ political will (=determination on the part of governments and politicians)

There was a lack of political will to do anything about global warming.

■ phrases

▪ strength of will

She had achieved success by sheer strength of will.

▪ an effort of will (=a determined effort to do something you do not want to do)

With a great effort of will, she resisted the temptation to look at the letter.

▪ a battle/clash/test of wills (=when two determined people oppose each other)

Even the smallest decision could become an exhausting battle of wills.

■ verbs

▪ have the will to do something (=be determined enough to do it)

Do you have the will to win?

▪ lack the will to do something

He lacked the will to resist.

▪ lose the will to do something

The country's troops had lost the will to fight.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ verbs

▪ make a will (=write one)

It is always advisable to make a will.

▪ leave a will (=have made a will when you die)

Who will inherit my property if I don't leave a will?

▪ change your will (=change some of the instructions in your will)

Marius had decided to change his will in her favour.

▪ cut somebody out of your will (=change your will so that someone is no longer given anything when you die)

His father cut her out of his will.

▪ prove a will law (=to show that a will has been made in the correct way)

If the estate is small, you may not need to prove the will.

■ phrases

▪ somebody's last will and testament formal (=somebody's will)

▪ the executor of a will (=the person who makes sure that the instructions in someone's will are followed)

Her eldest son is the executor of her will.

III. will 3 BrE AmE verb

[ Sense 1: Language: Old English ; Origin: willian , from willa ; ⇨ ↑ will 2 ]

[ Sense 2: Language: Old English ; Origin: wyllan ; ⇨ ↑ will 1 ]

1 . [transitive] to try to make something happen by thinking about it very hard

will somebody to do something

She was willing herself not to cry.

2 . [transitive + to] to officially give something that you own to someone else after you die

3 . [intransitive and transitive] old use to want something to happen:

The King wills it.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.