velleity

noun

vel·​le·​i·​ty ve-ˈlē-ə-tē How to pronounce velleity (audio)
və-
plural velleities
1
: the lowest degree of volition
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.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Medieval Latin velleitāat-, velleitās, from Latin velle "to want, will" + -itāt, -itās -ity — more at will entry 1

First Known Use

1618, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of velleity was in 1618

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near velleity

Cite this Entry

“Velleity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/velleity. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!