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

The event was to raise funds and awareness of the charity’s work supporting the mental health and well-being of young people whose lives have been affected by HIV in southern Africa. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Prince Harry and Prince William Go Head-to-Head in Charity Polo Match — with Their Kids Watching!," 10 July 2019 The 36-year-old aims to define a new era for Instagram, calling the well-being of users his top priority. Katy Steinmetz, Time, "Inside Instagram's War on Bullying," 8 July 2019 Taylor Energy remains committed to its role as the Responsible Party and continues to advocate for a response that is grounded in science and prioritizes the well-being of the environment. Darryl Fears, Washington Post, "A ‘volcano’ at the bottom of the gulf," 1 July 2019 The charity’s board did not respond to questions about the decisions made by its donors, how much of the charity’s assets still remained and how much funding will be committed to the well-being of those abused while in the charity’s care. Finlay Young, ProPublica, "More Than Me Shuts Down," 27 June 2019 Costumes will be auctioned and proceeds will go to her Born This Way Foundation, which focuses on the well-being of young people. Catharine Hamm, latimes.com, "Vegas Escapes: 4 ways to save money on hotels, food and transportation," 27 June 2019 Urban parks and green space enhance the well-being of city residents, promoting physical activity, mental health and a sense of community. Lincoln Larson, The Conversation, "Can parks help cities fight crime?," 25 June 2019 Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), a group promoting the well-being of girls, held a rally and court hearing in April to address the lack of Title IX officers. Ayanna Runcie, CBS News, "Girls win first battle in adding more Title IX coordinators to NYC schools," 20 June 2019 Trans Lifeline is a non-profit dedicated to the well-being of transgender people and staffed by transgender people, for transgender people. Kimberly Shappley, Good Housekeeping, "The Story of My Transgender Daughter Went Viral. Here's How Life Has Been for Us Since.," 20 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 BART’s directors, like its riders, have become preoccupied with social issues that keep welling up on the system, such as scofflaws who hop gates and the swelling homeless population. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "BART board approves budget, including fare hike compromise," 13 June 2019 The interrogator bit down hard on the towel and screamed, and his eyes welled up and reddened. Paul Yoon, Harper's magazine, "Run Me to Earth," 10 Mar. 2019 Another Springs/Rogers/Sturken track, the song is a uptempo lament on the insatiable power of attraction in which the vocalist alternates between seductively welling her voice into one verse and then tersely recoiling into the next. Martin Johnson, WSJ, "‘Indigo’ by Kandace Springs Review: Adding Emotion Through Precision," 6 Sep. 2018 Tucker’s tail wagged furiously, and Cawley’s eyes welled up. Liz Kowalczyk, BostonGlobe.com, "In ICUs, a furry friend to comfort patients," 15 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Golliver: To me the healthy sign that things are going well for the Lakers is if Anthony Davis is the NBA scoring leader. Andrew Sharp And Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Don’t Forget That Anthony Davis Is on the Lakers Too | Open Floor Podcast," 13 July 2019 The visibility of Dominicans in Boston was practically nil until well into the 1990s. Rita Indiana, BostonGlobe.com, "The David Ortiz shooting and the corruption of the Dominican dream," 12 July 2019 The executive producer of Sonic the Hedgehog responds to movie's delay after fan backlash forces redesign The Sonic redesign seems to be going well. Ale Russian, PEOPLE.com, "Sonic the Hedgehog Has Been Redesigned For New Movie — and Producer Thinks Fans Will Be Happy," 12 July 2019 Durant and Irving are known to be temperamental when things don’t go well. New York Times, "N.B.A. Superstars’ New Strategy: Tag-Team a Title," 12 July 2019 Finally, if all goes well, the Pragyan rover will roll onto the lunar surface at an average speed of one centimeter per second to traverse a distance of 500 meters. Shekhar Chandra, Scientific American, "What to Expect from India’s Second Moon Mission," 12 July 2019 Watching the red-carpet lineup at the ESPYs was enough to get a committed girl in trouble (drooling usually doesn’t go over well with bae). Shalwah Evans, Essence, "The Men Of The ESPYs Reminded Us Of Just How Much We Love Black Men In Beards," 11 July 2019 Disney has even gone back to that well once already. Kendra James, The Verge, "Disney’s live-action Lion King is pretty, but so unnecessary," 11 July 2019 If all goes well, new furniture and gear from the current Sidewalk headquarters could be moved in July 26-29. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al.com, "It’s crunch time for Sidewalk Film Festival and new cinema at Pizitz," 11 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

Owing to such magic-seeming intercessions, GoFundMe has acquired a wishing-well mystique. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "The Perverse Logic of GoFundMe Health Care," 24 June 2019 C&J Energy Services, which offers a suite of oil and gas production services, and Keane Group, which specializes in well completions will combine in what the companies described as a merger of equals. Fuel Fix Staff, Houston Chronicle, "C&J Energy, Keane Group to merge if $1.8b deal," 17 June 2019 Before getting started, let tap water soak in your bucket for at least 24 hours to remove any chlorine (skip this step by using rain or well water). Blair Donovan, Country Living, "How to Make Compost Tea for Your Garden," 29 May 2019 The United States were criticized after its record-breaking 13-0 rout of Thailand when players celebrated goals even after the victory was well in hand. Bud Geracie, The Mercury News, "World Cup: Carli Lloyd powers U.S. into round of 16," 16 June 2019 The Americans celebrated every goal even after the win was well in hand, and the display offended many who thought the champions should have shown more class. Anne M. Peterson, The Denver Post, "Carli Lloyd, a World Cup starter again, scores twice as U.S. beats Chile," 16 June 2019 The Americans celebrated every goal even after that win was well in hand, and the display offended many who said the champions should have shown more class. Anne M. Peterson, courant.com, "Carli Lloyd scores twice as U.S. women blank Chile 3-0, advance to World Cup round of 16," 16 June 2019 Fans reacted by sending their well wishes and support for her recovery, rooting for her being back on the show. Mackenzie Dunn, Woman's Day, "Abby Lee Miller Showed Her Scars During the 'Dance Moms' Premiere," 5 June 2019 Confidence: Medium The remnant low-pressure center from Alberto should still be well to our west by Wednesday. Brian Jackson, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Another round of storms likely this afternoon into evening," 27 May 2018

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

14 Jul 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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