noun (1)
\ ˈwēl How to pronounce weal (audio) \

Definition of weal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sound, healthy, or prosperous state : well-being
2 obsolete : body politic, commonweal


noun (2)

Definition of weal (Entry 2 of 2)

: welt

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Weal is most often used in contexts referring to the general good. One reads, for example, of the "public weal" or the "common weal." The latter of these led to the formation of the noun commonweal, a word that once referred to an organized political entity, such as a nation or state, but today usually means "the general welfare." The word commonwealth shares these meanings, but its situation is reversed; the "political entity" sense of commonwealth is still current whereas the "general welfare" sense has become archaic. At one time, weal and wealth were also synonyms; both meant "riches" ("all his worldly weal") and "well-being." Both words stem from wela, the Old English word for "well-being," and are closely related to the Old English word for "well."

First Known Use of weal

Noun (1)

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

Noun (2)

circa 1798, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for weal

Noun (1)

Middle English wele, from Old English wela; akin to Old English wel well

Noun (2)

alteration of wale

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

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Cite this Entry

“Weal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weal. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for weal


\ ˈwē(ə)l How to pronounce weal (audio) \

Medical Definition of weal

: welt

More from Merriam-Webster on weal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for weal

Britannica English: Translation of weal for Arabic Speakers


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