American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Volition at its lowest level.
- n. A mere wish or inclination.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Volition in the weakest form; an indolent or inactive wish or inclination toward a thing, which leads to no energetic effort to obtain it: chiefly a scholastic term.
- n. The lowest degree of desire or volition, with no effort to act.
- n. A slight wish not followed by any effort to obtain.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The lowest degree of desire; imperfect or incomplete volition.
- n. volition in its weakest form
- n. a mere wish, unaccompanied by effort to obtain
- From Medieval Latin velleitās, from Latin velle ("wish, will"). (Wiktionary)
- New Latin velleitās, from Latin velle, to wish; see wel-1 in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“We may well say: I would desire to be young; but we do not say: I desire to be young; seeing that this is not possible; and this motion is called a wishing, or as the Scholastics term it a velleity, which is nothing else but a commencement of willing, not followed out, because the will, by reason of impossibility or extreme difficulty, stops her motion, and ends it in this simple affection of a wish.”
“Wherefore such a will should rather be called a "velleity" than an absolute will; because one would will (_vellet_) if there were no obstacle.”
“Therese's "desire" to be a priest was in the field of devotional velleity - nothing approaching the field of voluntas.”
“But like the former, the latter preference is no mere velleity; it is a firm orientation of the will that requires, among other things, repentance.”
“Some people who are formally in the Church, the household of God, are not followers of Christ in their hearts, despite claiming to be and having a velleity, as distinct from a will, to do so.”
“However, I will permit myself -- and more importantly, will beg your indulgence for -- analepses and occasional analogies where my own admittedly subjective views and readings seem to demand them...or at least wish for them in a spirit of whimsical velleity.”
“Who could have imagined then, in Crumpsall, that the ancient Jewish hope, “Next year in Jerusalem”—for so long more a velleity than a hope, the feeblest and most unanticipated of anticipations—would be realized in their lifetime and that they would be able to stand here, under the watchful eye of Israeli soldiers, but otherwise unimpeded, together?”
“This connoisseuse of "splendid weaknesses," run not by any lust or even velleity but by vacuum: by the absence of human hope.”
“The dope salesman may know everything that's ever going to happen to Tchitcherine, and decide it's no use-or, out of the moment's velleity, lay it right out for the young fool.”
“In both which places the eminency of this love is set forth exceeding emphatically to believers, with such expressions as can no way be accommodated to a natural velleity to the good of all.”
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