Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "willy-nilly" []

  • Whether desired or not: After her boss fell sick, she willy-nilly found herself directing the project. (adverb)
  • Without order or plan; haphazardly. (adverb)
  • Being or occurring whether desired or not: willy-nilly cooperation. (adjective)
  • Disordered; haphazard: willy-nilly zoning laws. (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "willy-nilly" in a sentence
  • "Then they proceed to throw the name around willy-nilly, with Rudolph mixing in "prosecco.""
  • ""When you go down this road and you start to just willy-nilly - as I believe President Carter has - throwing race out there, you diminish real instances of racism that needs to be addressed.""
  • "Constitutional head of all military in the US (and a civilian for a reason) ... should just let the military do whatever it wants willy-nilly."
Words like "willy-nilly"