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 well (audio) \; best\ ˈbest How to pronounce well (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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Drilling a well and running everything on generators were no barriers to Wise and his wife, Ronda, establishing B. Wise Vineyards on a ridge overlooking Sonoma Valley. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 24 May 2021 Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, involves injecting water, sand and chemicals down a well at a high pressure to form cracks in rock to release oil. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 19 May 2021 There is only now, in all its perpetual detail, as deep as a well. Keith Ridgway, The New Yorker, 17 May 2021 Another rancher had also found a cow near a well with a similar appearance. Erin Stone, The Arizona Republic, 16 May 2021 His love and knowledge of folk, country, blues, rock, pop, bluegrass, jazz, Celtic music and more gave him a deep well of resources with which to paint his masterpieces. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 May 2021 Each time Kernza is planted around a well, the nitrates in the soil and water under the crop fall to a fraction of previous levels. Greg Stanley, Star Tribune, 16 May 2021 In translation: within certain spacing requirements, a well can be drilled anywhere the operator desires. University Of Houston Energy Fellows, Forbes, 13 May 2021 Battles over feminism have provided a rare chance for a deep well of dissent within the SNP, and within Scottish politics, to spill out into the open. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, 5 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Spanish are also in the passes and well up inside lower Mobile Bay. Frank Sargeant, al, 29 Apr. 2021 Mundell preferred wisdom to well up from the public, intellectuals stepping in to ratify such wisdom and work up the system that the democratic populace desires to function in practice. Brian Domitrovic, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2021 Wright’s body language changed from an unbothered slouch to an attentive and direct as his eyes began to well with tears. Eplunus Colvin, USA TODAY, 30 Aug. 2020 Even before the coronavirus and economic turbulence, riders were peeling away from BART with complaints about visible homelessness, crime, and fare evasion — issues that will keep welling up if the agency can’t add to its police force. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, 28 May 2020 The trademark chant of the protests — the people want the fall of the regime — seemed to well up from the seething crowd itself rather than any individual author. Robert F. Worth, New York Times, 12 May 2020 Tears welled in his eyes when Thae started singing South Korea’s national anthem with his supporters. Fox News, 17 Apr. 2020 Ajami, 24 and a Dearborn native, leaned forward on his couch, tugged at his black 49ers T-shirt and dabbed at the tears welling in his eyes. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 2 Feb. 2020 This dispiriting sense often wells up at the next step of the student finance complex: filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Caitlin Zaloom, Time, 29 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Deja is well known for his work in Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994), and more recently, Enchanted (2007) and The Princess and the Frog (2009). Gia Yetikyel, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 June 2021 The historical legacy of police brutality against Black people is well-known and documented, dating back to the slave patrols. Washington Post, 2 June 2021 Nemacolin, the luxury resort located in the Pennsylvania wilderness, is already well-known for being an over-the-top fantasy destination. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 2 June 2021 Some patients had been there for weeks, Hartman said, and were well known to the service due to their long-term eating disorders, while others were new. Theresa Gaffney, STAT, 2 June 2021 But while his reservations about the bill were well known, a historian has found that Reagan communicated those feelings in a surprising place: a letter to Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz. Time, 1 June 2021 Less well-known, but on menus all over Europe, the Balkans, and Latin America, is Salade Russe (variously known as Salade Olivier, Olivye Salat, Ensalada Rusa, Russian Salad), originally made for celebrations. BostonGlobe.com, 1 June 2021 But even lawmakers who retracted their endorsements say that Mr. Stringer remains well known in some of their neighborhoods. New York Times, 31 May 2021 But, Detroit native and well-known street muralist, Chazz, was hired by the ACC for the lead and creation of the project, said to Fakhouri. Jasmin Barmore, Detroit Free Press, 31 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Interjection Writing the stuff that travels the world, and mends hearts, well that’s a different matter. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 3 June 2021 As for the fact that God of War 2 is not a PS5 only game, and is also releasing on PS4, well, that’s a bit more controversial. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 3 June 2021 Some motivational change might, well, nudge them to get a shot. Adam Rogers, Wired, 3 June 2021 But the tournaments saw this is a slippery slope leading to, well, a transfer of power to individuals and away from them. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, 2 June 2021 The global coronavirus pandemic has been and remains, well, the worst. oregonlive, 2 June 2021 And the fourth … well, that was an all-but-forgettable victory lap. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 June 2021 Sumida is now looking to start inoculating younger people later this month, well ahead of schedule. Mari Yamaguchi, Chron, 1 June 2021 Many of us are feeling hopeful for a summer that resembles, well, summer. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, 1 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Nobody who has watched this year’s debate over the provenance of COVID-19 can possibly have emerged from the experience believing that all is well with the press. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, 3 June 2021 In 2019, an investigative unit at CalGEM said Nasco was injecting huge amounts of water into well bores there above the legal pressure limits, aiming to push more crude out of what is known as the Los Angeles Downtown Oil Field. Janet Wilson, ProPublica, 2 June 2021 Today, there are well over 1 million active job vacancy postings in computer occupations, according to a National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) analysis of Emsi Job Posting Analytics. Stuart Anderson, Forbes, 2 June 2021 About one-third of residents live less than a mile from an active well site, some right next door. Bhavna Shamasunder, The Conversation, 2 June 2021 Some parts of the lagoon are rife with microplastics, or small pieces of plastic that may never fully break down, even more so than in other well-tread waterways in Florida. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 30 May 2021 Authorities in Siskiyou County have begun to aggressively enforce ordinances that prohibit well owners from selling and transporting water to local marijuana farms, which are mostly owned and run by farmers of Hmong and Chinese descent. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2021 As for that delicate-looking glass exterior, the laminated panels are well over an inch thick. al, 26 May 2021 There’s also the question of how well various vaccine credential systems will work together and whether countries will recognize each others’ certificates. Kelvin Chan, chicagotribune.com, 26 May 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about well

Time Traveler for well

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for well

Last Updated

2 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Well.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/well. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on well

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for well

Nglish: Translation of well for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of well for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!