SKIP TO CONTENT

velleity

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
    see moresee less
    type of:
    want, wish, wishing
    a specific feeling of desire
  2. noun
    volition in its weakest form
    see moresee less
    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."

Continue reading...

Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week