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noun, vel·le·i·ty \ve-ˈlē-ə-tē, və-\

Definition of velleity

plural velleities

  1. 1 :  the lowest degree of volition

  2. 2 :  a slight wish or tendency :  inclination

Did You Know?

Allow us, if you will, to volunteer our knowledge about "velleity." It is a derivative of the New Latin noun velleitas, from the Latin verb velle, meaning "to wish or will." You might also wish to know that "velle" is the word that gave us "voluntary" (by way of Anglo-French voluntarie and Latin voluntarius) and "volunteer" (by way of French voluntaire). While both of those words might imply a wish to do something (specifically, to offer one's help) and the will to act upon it, the less common "velleity" refers to a wish or inclination that is so insignificant that a person feels little or no compulsion to act.

Origin of velleity

New Latin velleitas, from Latin velle to wish, will — more at will

First Known Use: 1618

Seen and Heard

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to manage or play awkwardly

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