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Related to willy-nilly: pithy, haphazardly, succinctly


1. Lacking or without thought, order, or reason; haphazard(ly). You can't just choose a college willy-nilly—you have to do some research. It appears he listed the items willy-nilly, with no regard to how they were loaded.
2. Regardless of whether or not it is desired. I'm afraid you're going to be assigned to a classroom willy-nilly.

do something ˌwilly-ˈnilly

1 do something whether you want to or not: She was forced willy-nilly to accept the company’s proposals.
2 do something in a careless way without planning: Don’t just use your credit card willy-nilly.
This expression is a shortened form of ‘willing or not willing’.
See also: something

willy-nilly, to do something

Willingly or not; anyhow, any old way. This very old term was once will-he, nill-he, nill being the negative of will (i.e., will not or won’t). It was in print by the late thirteenth century and was picked up by numerous writers, including Shakespeare (in Hamlet). Today it is sometimes used in the original sense—that is, this will happen, whether or not one wants it to—and also (erroneously according to the OED but not American dictionaries), in the meaning of sloppily or in disorganized fashion.
See also: something
References in periodicals archive ?
Describing herself as an academic and an activist, Mihesuah takes on a wide range of concerns: feminism in the Native context, the problems and benefits of Native activism, exploitation of Indians by non-Indians who invade the reservations and then exploit what they gather (she does not have anything good to say about the popular book On the Rez by Ian Frazier), discrimination against Indian academics, problems that stem from poverty, crime, lack of education and health care, and loss of identity and culture as Natives are thrust willy-nilly into an environment of two cultures and expected to survive in both.
Caught in this cycle of under provisioning and over-spending, companies need approaches that will keep files readily available for users, yet will help them stop spending money willy-nilly on expensive disk-based storage systems.
We willy-nilly dethrone the heroes of the day and exalt new ones in the journals and popular media.
That's why people are dying--even people with infants are going willy-nilly into the wilderness.
Adam's septet ever so fluidly wound a path from stiff ceremonial locksteps into a sense of abandon in which dancers partnered each other apparently willy-nilly until a final stamping section re-established a sense of inevitability and closure.
Willy-nilly this biography becomes a history of Russia as well as a biography.
Yet my curiosity grew as I read and, willy-nilly, a certain fascination grew at the same time.
Otherwise, the men and women who are the military will continue to be whittled away willy-nilly by a national political leadership who share one area of military expertise: They know how to evade military service.
They spoke of mice dice, republicans, democrats, How stars may be foiled of grand desires, How love may be wept over as an abstraction, How black velvet may suddenly transfuse With tracks and spatters of red blood, How fate waits at a door with a white finger, How beautiful children become drab vagabonds, How the coin of life comes willy-nilly, How Jesus was not ashamed of miracles.
It might be very dangerous to tamper with it and we would never introduce it willy-nilly.
Originally we were just going willy-nilly out there, and there wasn't time and there weren't a lot of minorities registered.
Cut the image into anything from boxy rectangles to thin strips, then slip puzzle pieces willy-nilly into the frame fit will be tight; trim slightly if needed).
In other words, we are all stuck with Duterte, willy-nilly.
The doctors will not give out sickness certificates willy-nilly.