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4 Comments

  • I don’t think the Macmillan definition really captures the meaning of sense 2. To do something willy-nilly, as I would explain it, is to do it repeatedly and indiscriminantly (esp. without regard for whether it’s the appropriate thing to do in the circumstances). The Macmillan definition leaves out the “repeatedly” connotation.

    I don’t use the term. I percieve it as old fashioned, and that’s sense 2 I’m talking about.

    John Cowan is just weird. 😛

  • That’s curious, Adrian. The word has never had a connotation of repeated action for me, at least not so much that it warrants inclusion in a dictionary definition. Macmillan’s definition is of course informed by corpus usage, and I don’t see the idea mentioned in other dictionaries either.