Meaning of “willing” in the English Dictionary

"willing" in British English

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uk /ˈwɪl.ɪŋ/ us /ˈwɪl.ɪŋ/
be willing (to do sth)

More examples

  • He is not willing to concede any of his power.
  • You have to be willing to see other people's points of view.
  • They need an assistant who is willing to stay for six months.
  • The success of the talks turns on whether both sides are willing to make some concessions.
  • If you don't want the job, there's no end of people willing to take your place.

B1 to be happy to do something if it is needed:

If you're willing to fly at night, you can get a much cheaper ticket.
You said you needed a volunteer - well, I'm willing.
Apparently John and Gabriel are willing for us to use their barbecue.

approving A willing person does their work energetically and enthusiastically:

a willing helper
adverb uk /ˈwɪl.ɪŋ.li/ us /ˈwɪl.ɪŋ.li/


  • One thing is certain - she won't resign willingly.
  • I would willingly give my life for that of my child.


I would willingly (= be ready and enthusiastic to) help you if I weren't going away tomorrow.
noun [ S or U ] uk /ˈwɪl.ɪŋ.nəs/ us /ˈwɪl.ɪŋ.nəs/


  • His letter bespeaks his willingness to help.
  • Lack of willingness to compromise on both sides is the main/major stumbling block to reaching a settlement.
  • He expressed a willingness to be of service.
  • The willingness of people to get involved has impressed the organizers of the event.
  • Throughout his career he has demonstrated a willingness to compromise.


[ + to infinitive ] She shows a willingness to work on her own initiative.

(Definition of “willing” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"willing" in American English

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us /ˈwɪl·ɪŋ/

not opposed to doing something; ready or eager to do something:

If you’re willing to fly on Thursday you can get a cheaper ticket.
noun [ U ] us /ˈwɪl·ɪŋ·nəs/

She shows a willingness to work hard.

(Definition of “willing” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)