Word Frequency Lists Translation Services Word Databases
Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website TranslationClip Art
 

velleity

Printable Version Pronunciation: vê-lee-ê-tee Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: The slightest hint of a desire or wish, an inclination.

Notes: Today's Good Word is yet another lexical orphan, a word without any derivational family. We do find copies of it in all the Romance languages: Italian velleità, Spanish veleidad, and Portuguese veleidade.

In Play: Remember, a velleity is only the hint of a wish or desire: "I don't have the faintest velleity to go out with Clara Sill, let alone marry her." Velleities abound in higher places: "Congress doesn't seem to have the slightest velleity to get to work on the nation's problems."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from Latin velleitas, a derivation of velle "to wish, want". It comes from the Proto-Indo-European root, wel-/wol- "wish, will", which had two forms for reasons that remain mysterious. Anyway, both developed in German as wollen "to want", but ich will "I want". Only the one with the E arrived in Old English and resulted in will in all its various senses. The PIE word came to Latin, too, in both forms. The O-form ended up in voluntarius "voluntary, freely desiring", voluptuosus "bringing pleasure, the desirous", and malevolen(t)s "malevolent, ill-wishing"—all of which were borrowed by English, either directly or via French. (We have much more than a velleity to thank Roger A. Meyer for thinking of alphaDictionary when he came across today's very Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!