Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. Not to will; not to wish.
  • intransitive v. To be unwilling; will not.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Shining sparks thrown off from melted brass.
  • n. Scales of hot iron from the forge.
  • v. To be unwilling; will not (+ infinitive).
  • v. To be unwilling.
  • v. To reject, refuse, negate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Shining sparks thrown off from melted brass.
  • n. Scales of hot iron from the forge.
  • intransitive v. To be unwilling; to refuse to act.
  • transitive v. Not to will; to refuse; to reject.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Will not; wish not; refuse; reject.
  • Will not; be unwilling.
  • n. Negative volition; a “will not.”
  • n. A dialectal form of needle.
  • n. A dialectal form of nail.
  • n. The shining sparks of brass given off in trying and melting the ore.
  • n. Scales of hot iron from the forge.

Etymologies

Middle English nilen, from Old English nyllan : ne, not; see ne in Indo-European roots + willan, to desire; see wel-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English nillen, from Old English nillan, nellan, nyllan ("to be unwilling, refuse, prevent; not want to"), corresponding to ne +‎ will. Cognate with Old Frisian nelle. (Wiktionary)
Compare Irish and Gaelic neul star, light. Compare nebula. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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