WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
wil•ly-nil•ly /ˈwɪliˈnɪli/USA pronunciation   adv. 
  1. whether desired or not.
  2. in a disorganized or unplanned manner;
    sloppily:The schoolkids raced around the room willy-nilly.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
wil•ly-nil•ly  (wilē nilē),USA pronunciation adv. 
  1. in a disorganized or unplanned manner;
    sloppily.
  2. whether one wishes to or not;
    willingly or unwillingly:He'll have to do it willy-nilly.

adj. 
  1. shilly-shallying;
    vacillating.
  2. disorganized, unplanned;
    sloppy:willy-nilly work.
  • from the phrase will ye, nill ye. See will1, nill 1600–10


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

willy-nilly /ˌwɪlɪˈnɪlɪ/ adv
  1. whether desired or not
adj
  1. occurring or taking place whether desired or not
  2. occurring haphazardly
Etymology: Old English wile hē, nyle hē, literally: will he or will he not; nyle, from ne not + willan to will1



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