well

noun
\ ˈwel How to pronounce well (audio) \

Definition of well

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1a : an issue of water from the earth : a pool fed by a spring
b : source, origin
2a : a pit or hole sunk into the earth to reach a supply of water
b : a shaft or hole sunk to obtain oil, brine, or gas
3a : an enclosure in the middle of a ship's hold to protect from damage and facilitate the inspection of the pumps
b : a compartment in the hold of a fishing boat in which fish are kept alive
4 : an open space extending vertically through floors of a structure
5a : a space having a construction or shape suggesting a well for water
b : the area behind a bar in which items used most frequently by a bartender are kept
6a : something resembling a well in being damp, cool, deep, or dark
b : a deep vertical hole
c : a source from which something may be drawn as needed
7 : a pronounced minimum of a variable in physics a potential well

well

verb
welled; welling; wells

Definition of well (Entry 2 of 5)

intransitive verb

1 : to rise to the surface and usually flow forth tears welled from her eyes
2 : to rise like a flood of liquid longing welled up in his breast

transitive verb

: to emit in a copious free flow

well

adverb
better\ ˈbe-​tər How to pronounce better (audio) \; best\ ˈbest How to pronounce best (audio) \

Definition of well (Entry 3 of 5)

1a : in a good or proper manner : justly, rightly
b : satisfactorily with respect to conduct or action did well in math works well under pressure
2 : in a kindly or friendly manner spoke well of your idea wished them well
3a : with skill or aptitude : expertly, excellently paints well
b : satisfactorily the plan worked well
c : with good appearance or effect : elegantly carried himself well
4 : with careful or close attention : attentively watch well what I do
5 : to a high degree well deserved the honor a well-equipped kitchen often used as an intensifier or qualifier there are … vacancies pretty well all the timeListener
6 : fully, quite well worth the price
7a : in a way appropriate to the facts or circumstances : fittingly, rightly well said
b : in a prudent manner : sensibly used with do you would do well to reread the material
8 : in accordance with the occasion or circumstances : with propriety or good reason cannot well refuse the decision may well be questioned
9a : as one could wish : pleasingly the idea didn't sit well with her
b : with material success : advantageously married well
10a : easily, readily could well afford a new car
b : in all likelihood : indeed it may well be true
11 : in a prosperous or affluent manner he lives well
12 : to an extent approaching completeness : thoroughly after being well dried with a towel
13 : without doubt or question : clearly well knew the penalty
14 : in a familiar manner knew her well
15 : to a large extent or degree : considerably, far well over a million
as well
1 : in addition : also there were other features as well
2 : to the same extent or degree : as much open as well to the poor as to the rich
3 : with equivalent, comparable, or more favorable effect might just as well have stayed home

Definition of well (Entry 4 of 5)

1 used to indicate resumption of discourse or to introduce a remark they are, well, not quite what you'd expect
2 used to express surprise or expostulation well, what have we here?

well

adjective

Definition of well (Entry 5 of 5)

b : being in satisfactory condition or circumstances
2 : being in good standing or favor
3 : satisfactory, pleasing all's well that ends well
4 : advisable, desirable it might be well for you to leave
5a : free or recovered from infirmity or disease : healthy he's not a well man
b : completely cured or healed the wound is nearly well
6 : pleasing or satisfactory in appearance our garden looks well— Conrad Aiken
7 : being a cause for thankfulness : fortunate it is well that this has happened
8 of liquor : used for making mixed drinks when no branded alcohol is specified also : made with well liquor a well drink

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Choose the Right Synonym for well

Adjective

healthy, sound, wholesome, robust, hale, well mean enjoying or indicative of good health. healthy implies full strength and vigor as well as freedom from signs of disease. a healthy family sound emphasizes the absence of disease, weakness, or malfunction. a sound heart wholesome implies appearance and behavior indicating soundness and balance. a face with a wholesome glow robust implies the opposite of all that is delicate or sickly. a lively, robust little boy hale applies particularly to robustness in old age. still hale at the age of eighty well implies merely freedom from disease or illness. she has never been a well person

Good vs. Well: Usage Guide

Adverb

Adverbial good has been under attack from the schoolroom since the 19th century. Insistence on well rather than good has resulted in a split in connotation: well is standard, neutral, and colorless, while good is emotionally charged and emphatic. This makes good the adverb of choice in sports. "I'm seeing the ball real good" is what you hear — Roger Angell In such contexts as listen up. And listen good — Alex Karras lets fly with his tomatoes before they can flee. He gets Clarence good — Charles Dickinson good cannot be adequately replaced by well. Adverbial good is primarily a spoken form; in writing it occurs in reported and fictional speech and in generally familiar or informal contexts.

Good vs. Well: Usage Guide

Adjective

An old notion that it is wrong to say "I feel good" in reference to health still occasionally appears in print. The origins of this notion are obscure, but they seem to combine someone's idea that good should be reserved to describe virtue and uncertainty about whether an adverb or an adjective should follow feel. Today nearly everyone agrees that both good and well can be predicate adjectives after feel. Both are used to express good health, but good may connote good spirits in addition to good health.

Examples of well in a Sentence

Noun

his quirkily dysfunctional family proved to be a bottomless well of inspiration for the novelist the spot where the spring bubbles up to the surface and forms a deep well

Adverb

“How did everything go?” “It went well, thank you.” She works well under pressure. I did surprisingly well on my history test. The company is doing well. He has his own business and is doing well for himself. You got a perfect score! Well done! She sings and plays the guitar quite well. The essay is well written. He doesn't smoke or drink, and he eats well. She doesn't treat her boyfriend very well.

Adjective

The children are well again. I don't feel very well. You don't look so well. I hope you get well soon. I hope all is well with you and your family.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Toni’s health and well-being is, of course, our biggest priority. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley diagnosed with breast cancer," 8 Aug. 2019 One observer who knows this well is Erick Kabendera. The Economist, "Another critic of President John Magufuli is silenced," 1 Aug. 2019 The proceeds benefit The Arc of Colorado, a nonprofit organization that works to promote the well-being of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Arc Thrift Stores’ economic impact in Colorado is huge — to the tune of $2.3 billion since 2005 — a DU study shows," 31 July 2019 The average domestic well is tens of thousands of dollars in California. Ian James, azcentral, "In the West and across the U.S., drilling of deeper wells is ‘unsustainable,’ researchers say," 24 July 2019 Throughout this investigation, the NFL’s primary concern has been the well-being of the child. Chris Chavez, SI.com, "NFL Decides Not To Suspend Tyreek Hill After Child Abuse Allegations Investigated," 19 July 2019 Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities, Dearborn: $15,000 LAHC empowers communities, one family at a time, by advancing the educational, social, health and economic well-being of residents of southeast Michigan. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "6 metro Detroit nonprofits receive grants from Gannett Foundation," 19 July 2019 Plus, nature is exceedingly important to all aspects of mental and physical well-being—both for students and adults. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "How Design Can Make Schools Safer," 11 July 2019 People who spent at least two hours outside—either all at once or totaled over several shorter visits—were more likely to report good health and psychological well-being. Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American, "Mind and Body Benefit from Two Hours in Nature Each Week," 1 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And Danson — who, like Bell, welled up with tears at the TCA panel — expressed his admiration for and satisfaction with the conclusion of this heady journey. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "The Good Place creator on how — and why — the show changed its ultimate message," 9 Aug. 2019 After a handshake and exchange of words at the net with Williams, Gauff knelt by her sideline chair and tears welled in her eyes. Staff And Wire Report, sun-sentinel.com, "Delray Beach 15-year-old Coco Gauff upsets Venus Williams at Wimbledon; Boca’s Naomi Osaka falls in first round," 1 July 2019 After a handshake and exchange of words at the net with Williams, Gauff knelt by her sideline chair and tears welled in her eyes. Howard Fendrich, The Denver Post, "Coco Gauff, just 15, shocks 5-time champ Venus Williams, 39, at Wimbledon," 1 July 2019 After a handshake and exchange of words at the net with Williams, Gauff knelt by her sideline chair and tears welled in her eyes. Howard Fendrich, Twin Cities, "Coco Gauff, just 15, shocks 5-time champ Venus Williams at Wimbledon," 2 July 2019 Wolff said as tears started to well up in his eyes. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "Matthew Wolff wins 3M Open with clutch eagle on No. 18: ‘It’s life-changing’," 7 July 2019 The tears started welling up as my friends called to me from outside the dressing room, asking me to come out and show them my favorites. Nadia Boujarwah, Glamour, "I Never Realized I Was Different—Until I Had to Buy a Plus-Size Prom Dress," 17 June 2019 Their joy was unmistakable: Zion Williamson shed some happy tears, Ja Morant shared a long embrace with his father, and RJ Barrett welled up as his father, Rowan, expressed his pride. Ben Golliver, courant.com, "2019 NBA draft: Winners (Pelicans, Hawks) and losers (trade rules, Warriors)," 21 June 2019 Tears of pride welled up in some parents' eyes as their children marched from a tunnel in blue caps and gowns. J.l. Kirven, Detroit Free Press, "How Detroit Lions Academy helps get struggling students back on track," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Other recent black rhino relocations have not gone so well; last year 10 out of 11 black rhinos died while being transported to a wildlife park in Kenya, and the lone survivor was subsequently attacked by lions. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "16 Black Rhinos Successfully Relocated to Eswatini," 26 July 2019 The theory that Day describes in his book revolves around events that were known 50 years ago, but are not as well known today as the Tate murder is. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Why Did the Manson Family Kill Sharon Tate? Here’s the Story Charles Manson Told the Last Man Who Interviewed Him," 26 July 2019 Police departments are well-known for surveilling communities based on those things. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Proposed Federal Law Adds to the Backlash Against Facial-Recognition Technology," 25 July 2019 This is something that Greg Tillery knows all too well. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "Restaurateur, Greg Tillery On Why He Chose To Get In The Food Game "I Can't Depend On A Company"," 25 July 2019 And venues such as the Coliseum on North Monroe St. were well-known to the city’s sports fans. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Gervonta Davis’ homecoming fight brings attention to Baltimore’s overlooked boxing history," 25 July 2019 Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood is so well-known for murals that some worry its walls have become little more than Instagram backgrounds for tourists. Erin Berger, Outside Online, "This Beautiful Art Makes Climate Change Feel Visceral," 24 July 2019 Add the noodles to the sauce and gently fold and mix until well coated. Los Angeles Times, "Spicy Shrimp Paste Noodles," 24 July 2019 Ballmer’s energy and impressive ability to whoop is well known in the tech industry. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Steve Ballmer is still very hyped," 24 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Interjection

Having a good, well-rounded family emergency plan and some basic emergency supplies in place can put your mind at ease and go a long way to making the aftermath of an unexpected event more bearable. Rebecca Mcbane, South Florida Parenting, "Don't Wait for the Storm: The most important step in a Family Emergency Plan is to make one," 30 Aug. 2017 If such practices made going about the activities of daily life terrifying for Arpaio’s Latino constituents (especially the undocumented ones), well, that was the point. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "‘Sheriff Joe’ and Everyday American Authoritarianism," 30 Aug. 2017 Well, the knock-it-off suggestion is a good place to start. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "7 Signs You're Dealing With a Passive-Aggressive Person," 30 Aug. 2017 If the 10 pilot subjects tolerate the treatment well and no safety issues arise— seizures are the primary concern—Steele’s group will launch a double-blind phase II trial with 60 cocaine users. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "Brain-altering magnetic pulses could zap cocaine addiction," 29 Aug. 2017 Well, the good people there need to do more to stop the evil their state pushes. Ramsey Touchberry, USA TODAY College, "Instructor calls Harvey 'karma' for Texas Republicans. University fires him.," 29 Aug. 2017 Well, convicting someone of contempt is the one and only way the judicial branch can put muscle behind its decisions. Nardine Saad, latimes.com, "Trevor Noah says Trump's pardon of Sheriff Arpaio renders courts powerless," 29 Aug. 2017 September's about to be lit (well, as lit as classic Disney films can get). Lindsey Lanquist, SELF, "Everything Coming to Netflix in September 2017," 23 Aug. 2017 Synthetic strings, for example, may not have been this capable of producing actual emotion, since, well, the early-’80s that Granduciel so often references. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Classic-Rock Ecstasy of The War on Drugs," 23 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Your quickness, intuition and drive are weapons that lend themselves well to networking. SFChronicle.com, "Minerva’s horoscope for week of July 28," 28 July 2019 This flexible, rather formulaic way of cooking lends itself well to very lazy, casual preparation, especially for large groups. Alison Roman, New York Times, "A Recipe for When You (Gasp) Grow Tired of Hot Dogs," 1 July 2019 Lilly likes to do things on her own time and responds well to clear expectations. Boys & Girls Aid, oregonlive.com, "Amelia, 5, and Lilly, 4, will thrive in a high-energy, encouraging family: A Home of Their Own," 8 June 2019 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has for three decades compiled a ratings system to help patients understand how well hospitals perform heart operations. Anne Saker, Cincinnati.com, "Neil Armstrong: Bypass surgery remains risky. But complications like his are rare.," 25 July 2019 Fleury Drive resident Cameron Drew expressed concerns about how well Black might be able to chaperone a group of teenagers. Annie Gentile, courant.com, "New Plans Approved For Historic Pinney School," 19 July 2019 And the third, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task, has long been used to track how well volunteers can adapt to changing circumstances by getting them to match pictures by shape, colour or number of objects, and then changing the rules of the game. The Economist, "Zapping the brain improves creativity," 14 June 2019 Much like restaurants, cruise ships — including those that sail in and out of the Port of Baltimore — are required to undergo sanitation inspections to determine how well crews are operating and maintaining health standards for passengers. Lillian Reed, baltimoresun.com, "How many passengers got sick on cruises leaving Baltimore? The CDC has an answer for that and more.," 13 June 2019 Retailers and developers are luring shoppers away from their laptops with destination restaurants that not only bring them inside brick-and-mortar stores but remind them how well lunch and shopping go together. Alex Witchel, Town & Country, "The Best Department Stores Are All Opening Restaurants," 25 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'well.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of well

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Interjection

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for well

Noun

Middle English welle, from Old English; akin to Old English weallan to bubble, boil, Old High German wella wave, Lithuanian vilnis

Verb

Middle English, from Old English wellan to cause to well; akin to Old English weallan to bubble, boil

Adverb

Middle English wel, going back to Old English, going back to Germanic *welō (whence Old Frisian wol, wel, wal "in a good manner," Old Saxon wola, wela, wala, Old High German wola, Old Norse vel, val), from an adjectival derivative of the base of *weljan- "to want" — more at will entry 1

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Statistics for well

Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for well

The first known use of well was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for well

well

noun

English Language Learners Definition of well

 (Entry 1 of 5)

: a deep hole made in the ground through which water can be removed

well

verb

English Language Learners Definition of well (Entry 2 of 5)

of a liquid : to rise to a surface and flow out

well

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of well (Entry 3 of 5)

: in a successful way
: in a skillful way
: in a good, proper, or positive way

English Language Learners Definition of well (Entry 4 of 5)

used to show that you are unsure about something you are saying
used to show that you accept something even though you are not happy about it
used when you are trying to persuade someone or to make someone feel less upset, worried, etc.

well

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of well (Entry 5 of 5)

: in good health
: in a good or satisfactory state
formal : wise, sensible, or reasonable

well

adverb
\ ˈwel How to pronounce well (audio) \
better\ ˈbe-​tər \; best\ ˈbest \

Kids Definition of well

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1 : in a skillful or expert manner He plays the guitar well.
2 : by as much as possible : completely We are well aware of the problem.
3 : in such a way as to be pleasing : as wanted Everything went well.
4 : without trouble We could well afford the cost.
5 : in a thorough manner Shake well before using.
6 : in a familiar manner I know them well.
7 : by quite a lot There was well over a million.
8 : so as to be right : in a satisfactory way Do your work well.
9 : in a complimentary or generous way They always speak well of you.
10 : with reason or courtesy I cannot well refuse.
as well
1 : in addition : also She has other hobbies as well.
2 : with the same result We might as well walk.

Kids Definition of well (Entry 2 of 5)

1 used to express surprise or doubt
2 used to begin a conversation or remark or to continue one that was interrupted

well

noun

Kids Definition of well (Entry 3 of 5)

1 : a hole made in the earth to reach a natural deposit (as of water, oil, or gas)
2 : a source of supply He was a well of news.
3 : something like a deep hole Voices echoed in the well of the great hall.

well

adjective

Kids Definition of well (Entry 4 of 5)

1 : being in a satisfactory or good state All is well.
2 : free or recovered from ill health : healthy
3 : fortunate sense 1 It was well that we left.

well

verb
welled; welling

Kids Definition of well (Entry 5 of 5)

: to rise to the surface and flow out Tears welled up in her eyes.

well

adjective
\ ˈwel How to pronounce well (audio) \

Medical Definition of well

1 : free or recovered from infirmity or disease : healthy a well person
2 : completely cured or healed the wound is nearly well

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More from Merriam-Webster on well

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with well

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for well

Spanish Central: Translation of well

Nglish: Translation of well for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of well for Arabic Speakers

Comments on well

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