Will To: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
November 29, 2023

The term "will to" can mean two different things, depending on the context. One interpretation involves using your thoughts, determination, or desires to make something happen. The other interpretation is about leaving an item or property to someone in your legal will after you pass away.

In short:

  • It refers to using your mind or willpower to make something happen.
  • It also can mean leaving something to someone in your legal will.

What Does "Will To" Mean?

If someone talks about having the "will to" do something, they mean they're determined to make it happen using their thoughts or desires. For example, someone might say, "I willed myself to finish the marathon," meaning they used their mental strength to complete the race. The phrase can also refer to leaving a belonging or asset to someone after you die. If you "will" something to someone, you've included it in your legal will for that person to have after you're gone.

Key aspects of the idiom's meaning:

  • It can express your determination to accomplish a goal or make something happen.
  • It can also refer to leaving a belonging or asset to someone in your legal will.
  • This term can be used in a variety of contexts, from discussing personal goals to legal matters.
  • Similar phrases could be "bequeath to" (in the legal context) or "determined to" (in the context of mental determination).

Where Does "Will To" Come From?

The term "will to" has roots in the English language that date back centuries. The use of "will" to mean determination or desire dates back to Old English, while the legal meaning of "will" (as in a document detailing what should happen to one's property after death) comes from around the 14th century.

Historical Example

I comforted him and willed him to follow my directions, and he should escape any such danger.

- The Naval Chronicle, Volume 9. 1803

10 Examples of “Will To” in Sentences

Here are some sentences that demonstrate the varied usage of "will to":

  • Despite numerous obstacles, John's will to succeed never waned.
  • Some believe if you possess the will to achieve, the universe assists you in your journey.
  • Grandma willed her vintage jewelry collection to my sister.
  • He used a graph to illustrate the will to progress over time.
  • With the right environment, the will to thrive becomes evident.
  • The number of people with the will to change is inspiring.
  • Her will to recover from the illness inspired everyone in her community.
  • She plans to draft a proposal highlighting the will to innovate.
  • Despite the hot criticism, his will to persevere never waned.
  • The seminar on the will to break free attracted many attendees.

Examples of “Will To” in Pop Culture

Here are some instances where the concept has been used in pop culture:

  • In the TV series Breaking Bad, Walter White's "will to" protect and provide for his family drives the narrative, leading him down a dark path.
  • The book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho revolves around Santiago's "will to" find his personal legend, emphasizing the power of persistence and belief in one's dreams.
  • In the biographical film The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner's "will to" provide a better life for his son is a central theme, highlighting the lengths a person can go to out of love and determination.
  • In the TV series Game of Thrones, characters like Arya Stark and Daenerys Targaryen frequently display a strong "will to" achieve their goals, regardless of the obstacles in their path.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say “Will To"

Depending on the context, several phrases and words can replace "will to":

  • Determination
  • Drive
  • Bequeath
  • Desire
  • Intent

10 Frequently Asked Questions About ‘Will To’:

  • What does "will to" mean in a legal context?

In a legal setting, "will to" refers to the act of bequeathing or leaving something to someone in a will.

  • How does "will to" relate to determination?

"Will To" often signifies a person's inner drive or determination to achieve a goal or overcome challenges.

  • Can "will to" be used in daily conversations?

Yes, "will to" can be used in everyday conversations, especially when discussing determination, intent, or bequests.

  • Is "will to" a modern phrase?

While the phrase is used in modern contexts, its origins trace back to philosophical and legal discussions from earlier times.

  • How is "will to" portrayed in pop culture?

In pop culture, "will to" often symbolizes determination, resilience, or the act of bequeathing, depending on the context.

  • Are there any famous quotes associated with "will to"?

Many famous personalities have spoken about the power of will and determination, though the exact phrasing of "will to" might vary.

  • Can "will to" be replaced with other phrases?

Depending on the context, "will to" can be replaced with terms like determination, drive, bequeath, desire, or intent.

  • How does "will to" relate to manifesting desires?

"Will To" can allude to the attempt to bring about events or encourage actions purely through thought or desire.

  • Is "will to" used in legal documents?

Yes, in legal contexts, "will to" indicates the act of bequeathing assets in a legal will.

  • Why is understanding the phrase "will to" important?

Understanding "will to" enriches our communication, allowing for a clearer expression of intent, determination, or legal bequests.

Final Thoughts About "Will To"

"Will to" is a phrase that captures both a person's drive to achieve things and the act of leaving behind something for others in a will. It's about the determination to reach a goal and the thoughtful process of deciding who should receive your belongings after you're gone.

To recap:

  • It describes a person's effort and mental power to make something happen.
  • It also means giving your possessions to others through a will.
  • This phrase is useful for understanding both personal motivation and the basics of what happens to your belongings after you pass away.
  • It has significance for anyone with goals or who wants to plan for the future.

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