will

Definitions

General English

  • modal verb used to form the future tense
  • modal verb used as a polite way of asking someone to do something
  • modal verb used for showing that you are keen to do something
  • noun someone’s desire that something will happen
  • noun a legal document by which a person gives instructions to his or her executors as to what should happen to the property after he or she dies

Accounting

  • noun a legal document where someone says what should happen to his or her property when he or she dies

Law

  • noun a document by which a person says what they want to happen to their property when they die.

Origin & History of “will”

Will the noun (OE) and the two verbs will (OE) all go back ultimately to the Indo-European base *wel-, *wol- ‘be pleasing’, which also produced English voluntary, voluptuous, wealth, well ‘satisfactorily’, etc. From it was derived a noun, *weljon, which evolved into English will, and also German wille, Dutch wil, Swedish vilja, and Danish vilje. The verb will ‘decide on or resolve by force of the will’ was formed in the prehistoric Germanic period from the noun. The auxiliary verb will, expressing intention or future time, comes from a prehistoric Germanic *weljan. Would evolved from its original Old English past form wolde.
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