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Bonvolu, Malvolu

Silly question: if bonvolu means please, what does malvolu mean?

August 11, 2017



Bovolu is bon+vol+u. That is, an order to have the good will (to do something).

Note that "mala" is not the opposite of "bona". Mala means "opposite." Malvolu means "unwant!" - and is nonsense.

Malbonvolu is also kind of nonsense but it would mean "have the bad will to..."


Mi pardonpetas Tomaso, sed vi devis serĉi la PIV-n antaŭ ol vi respondis. Ĝi ja enhavas "malvoli." La vorto ne estas sensenca. http://vortaro.net/#malvoli


Perhaps you're right. This is the second time in not very long that I said that a word found in PIV is nonsense. Checking out the newly expanded Tekstaro, there are 21 hits for malvoli used as a verb - 13 of them in a single work by a single author. This is compared to thousands of hits for voli and ne voli.

That's probably as close to nonsense as we'll find in PIV - a mal-word used six times compared to several thousands for the non-mal counterpart.

I've looked up two of the six instances of "malvoli" and the expression in English is a little strange:

  • mi malvolis partopreni = I hung back
  • ne malvolu puni knabon = don't withhold discipline from a child.

So, I concede that "nonsense" is indeed a bit strong... but only a bit. :-)


I was actually thinking about this word today and I agree with the strangeness. Only a bit is right, the word simply must be paraphrased to translate into English. xD


Well, nonsense is probably a strong word. I think there are cases where you could use that. Something like, "Vi malvolas tion, ĉu ne?" I can imagine a mobster type scene, and it would be equivalent to this sentence following a dire threat, "And we wouldn't want that, now would we?"


:-) LOL! Hey that wise guy speaks Esperanto!

[deactivated user]

    maybe it just means to refuse (or rather the imperative of it), that's at least what ReVo thinks: http://www.reta-vortaro.de/revo/art/vol.html#vol.mal0i

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