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

  • Slang Feelings of uneasiness. Often used with the: The dark, dank cave gave me the willies.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Plural form of willy.
  • n. A feeling of nervousness or fear.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. feelings of uneasiness


Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
The meaning "spell of nervousness," recorded since 1896, stems perhaps from the woollies, a dialectal term for "nervous uneasiness," probably in reference to the physical itchiness of wool garments. (Wiktionary)


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