Word of the Day

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

velleity

\vuh-LEE-i-tee\ , noun;
1.
Volition in its weakest form.
2.
A mere wish, unaccompanied by an effort to obtain it.
Quotes:
Fortunately it did no more than stress, the better to mock if you like, an innate velleity.
-- Samuel Beckett, Molloy
My guess is that instead of being men of decision we are in reality men of velleity.
-- Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
Have you come across the word velleity? A nice Thomistic ring to it. Volition at its lowest ebb. A small thing, a wish, a tendency. If you're low-willed, you see, you end up living in the shallowest turns and bends of your own preoccupations.
-- Don DeLillo, Underworld
Origin:
Velleity stems from the Latin word velle which meant "to be willing." The suffix -ity is used for abstract nouns.
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