A velleity is a wish you have — a wish that you aren't working to make come true. If you have a velleity to run a marathon, the marathon sounds like a good idea — but you probably aren't going to start training.

The word velleity comes from the Latin word velle, to wish or to will. A mild impulse to do something, unaccompanied by any real motivation to follow through, can be called a velleity. If you dream of going on safari in Africa, but you never even look into how much it costs, that dream was just a velleity. Your dream of speaking fluent Spanish is a velleity if you never get around to opening your textbook.

Definitions of velleity
  1. noun
    a mere wish, unaccompanied by effort to obtain
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    type of:
    want, wish, wishing
    a specific feeling of desire
  2. noun
    volition in its weakest form
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    type of:
    volition, will
    the capability of conscious choice and decision and intention
Commonly confused words

Do You Have a "Velleity" For Looking Up Words?

Is it fair for a newspaper to print a somewhat obscure word like velleity? One reader says, "No way."

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