If the man go to this water and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he goes.

Will he, nill he sounds a LOT like willy nilly and according to etymology on-line – willy nilly is a contraction of will, nill he. And what my brain wants to do is make will he, nill he mean the more modern sense of willy nilly. That is, for me, willy nilly doesn’t really mean with or without his will – it means a sort of here and there, an all-over-the-place, scattershot sense. But it is possible that all these years I have been using it wrong or misunderstanding.

But – phew – no – according to Merriam Webster its second definition is “in a haphazard or spontaneous manner” – which lines up with my thinking on it. The first definition, though, is this will he, nill he sense – the without his will sense.

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