Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of well
Meaning of well by Wiktionary Dictionary



    • IPA: /wɛl/
    • Rhymes: -ɛl

    Etymology 1

    From Middle English wel, wal, wol, wele, from Old English wel, wæl, well ( “well, abundantly, very, very easily, very much, fully, quite, nearly” ), from Proto-Germanic *walō ( “well”, literally “as wished, as desired” ), from Proto-Indo-European *wel- ( “wish, desire” ). Cognate with Scots wele, weil ( “well” ), North Frisian wel, weil, wal ( “well” ), West Frisian wol ( “well” ), Dutch wel ( “well” ), Low German wol ( “well” ), German wol, wohl ( “well” ), Danish vel ( “well” ), Swedish väl ( “well” ), Icelandic vel, val ( “well” ). Related to will .

    Alternative form


    well ( comparative better, superlative best )

    1. ( manner ) Accurately, competently .
      He does his job well .
    2. ( manner ) Completely, fully .
      A well done steak .
    3. ( degree ) To a significant degree .
      That author is well known .
    4. ( degree, UK, slang ) Very ( as a general-purpose intensifier ).
      • 1999, "Drummond Pearson", What Ash are doing right now... ( on Internet newsgroup alt.music.ash )
        That guy rocks! I think he's called Matthew Lillard or sommat but he is well cool in Scream .
      • 2002, "jibaili", FIFA 2003 How is it? ( on Internet newsgroup microsoft.public.xbox )
        Hey Dude / FIFA 2003 is well wicked, I've got FIFA 2002 on PS2, David Beckham on Xbox and Football Manager on Xbox too, out of all pf[sic] them FIFA 2003 is easliy[sic] the best. .
      • 2003, Steve Eddy, Empower, Book 2
        Hey, you should've seen it, it was well good .
    Derived terms


    well ( comparative better, superlative best )

    1. In good health .
      I had been sick, but now I'm well .
    2. ( archaic ) Prudent; good; well-advised.
    Derived terms



    1. Used to acknowledge a statement or situation .
      A: The car is broken .
      B: Well, we could walk to the movies instead .
      A: I didn't like the music .
      B: Well, I thought it was good .
      A: ( Accidentally sets tent on fire ) .
      B: Well, I guess we're sleeping under the stars tonight .
    2. An exclamation of surprise, often doubled or tripled .
      Well, well, well, what do we have here?
    3. Used in speech to express the overcoming of reluctance to say something .
      It was a bit... well... too loud .
    4. Used in speech to fill gaps; filled pause .
      - So what have you been doing?
      - Well, we went for a picnic, and then it started raining so we came home early .
    Derived terms

    Etymology 2

    Old English well ( “well” )


    well ( plural: wells )

    1. A hole sunk into the ground as a source of water, oil, natural gas or other fluids .
    2. A place where a liquid such as water surfaces naturally, a spring .
    3. A small depression suitable for holding liquid, or other objects .
    4. ( nautical ) A vertical, cylindrical trunk in a ship, reaching down to the lowest part of the hull, through which the bilge pumps operate .
    5. ( nautical ) The cockpit of a sailboat .
    6. A well drink .
      They're having a special tonight: $1 wells .
    7. ( video games ) The playfield of the video game Tetris .
    Derived terms

    Etymology 3

    Old English weallan. Cognate with German wallen ( “boil, seethe” ), Danish vælde ( “gush” ) .



    Common Germanic *wall-, whence also Old High German wella, Old Norse vella .


    well m .

    1. well


    By Wiktionary ( 2012/05/09 02:20 UTC Version )


    Contraction of we will and we shall


    • enPR: wēl, IPA: /wiːl/, /wiəl/, /wɪl/, X-SAMPA: /wi:l/

    Rhymes: -iːl



    1. we will
    2. we shall

    See also

Explanation of well by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. come up, as of a liquid

    2. Tears well in her eyes
      the currents well up
    1. in a good or proper or satisfactory manner or to a high standard

    2. the children behaved well
      a task well done
      the party went well
      he slept well
      a well-argued thesis
      a well-seasoned dish
      a well-planned party
    3. without unusual distress or resentment

    4. took the joke well
      took the tragic news well
    5. indicating high probability

    6. I might well do it
      you may well need your umbrella
      he could equally well be trying to deceive us
    7. thoroughly or completely

    8. The problem is well understood
      she was well informed
      shake well before using
      in order to avoid food poisoning be sure the meat is well cooked
      well-done beef,
      well-satisfied customers
    9. favorably

    10. their neighbors spoke well of them
      he thought well of the book
    11. to a suitable or appropriate extent or degree

    12. the project was well underway
      the fetus has well developed organs
      his father was well pleased with his grades
    13. in financial comfort

    14. They live well
    15. in a manner affording benefit or advantage

    16. she married well
    17. to a great extent or degree

    18. I'm afraid the film was well over budget
    19. with skill or in a pleasing manner

    20. she dances well
      he writes well
    21. with prudence or propriety

    22. You would do well to say nothing more
      could not well refuse
    23. with great or especially intimate knowledge

    24. we knew them well
    25. entirely or fully

    26. a book well worth reading
      was well aware of the difficulties ahead
      suspected only too well what might be going on
    1. wise or advantageous and hence advisable

    2. it would be well to start early
    3. resulting favorably

    4. it is well that no one saw you
      all's well that ends well
    5. in good health especially after having suffered illness or injury

    6. appears to be entirely well
      the wound is nearly well
      a well man
      I think I'm well; at least I feel well
    1. a deep hole or shaft dug or drilled to obtain water or oil or gas or brine

    2. an enclosed compartment in a ship or plane for holding something as e.g. fish or a plane's landing gear or for protecting something as e.g. a ship's pumps

    3. an open shaft through the floors of a building ( as for a stairway )

    4. a cavity or vessel used to contain liquid

    5. an abundant source

    6. she was a well of information

    Definition of well by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Well n. [OE. welle, AS. wella, wylla, from weallan to well up, surge, boil; akin to D. wel a spring or fountain. See Well, v. i.]

      1. An issue of water from the earth; a spring; a fountain.

      Begin, then, sisters of the sacred well. Milton.

      2. A pit or hole sunk into the earth to such a depth as to reach a supply of water, generally of a cylindrical form, and often walled with stone or bricks to prevent the earth from caving in.

      The woman said unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. John iv. 11.

      3. A shaft made in the earth to obtain oil or brine.

      4. Fig.: A source of supply; fountain; wellspring. “This well of mercy.” Chaucer.

      Dan Chaucer, well of English undefiled. Spenser.

      A well of serious thought and pure. Keble.

      5. ( Naut. ) An inclosure in the middle of a vessel's hold, around the pumps, from the bottom to the lower deck, to preserve the pumps from damage and facilitate their inspection. A compartment in the middle of the hold of a fishing vessel, made tight at the sides, but having holes perforated in the bottom to let in water for the preservation of fish alive while they are transported to market. A vertical passage in the stern into which an auxiliary screw propeller may be drawn up out of water. A depressed space in the after part of the deck; -- often called the cockpit.

      6. ( Mil. ) A hole or excavation in the earth, in mining, from which run branches or galleries.

      7. ( Arch. ) An opening through the floors of a building, as for a staircase or an elevator; a wellhole.

      8. ( Metal. ) The lower part of a furnace, into which the metal falls.

      Artesian well, Driven well. See under Artesian, and Driven. -- Pump well. ( Naut. ) See Well, 5 above. -- Well boring, the art or process of boring an artesian well. -- Well drain. A drain or vent for water, somewhat like a well or pit, serving to discharge the water of wet land. A drain conducting to a well or pit. -- Well room. A room where a well or spring is situated; especially, one built over a mineral spring. ( Naut. ) A depression in the bottom of a boat, into which water may run, and whence it is thrown out with a scoop. -- Well sinker, one who sinks or digs wells. -- Well sinking, the art or process of sinking or digging wells. -- Well staircase ( Arch. ), a staircase having a wellhole ( see Wellhole ), as distinguished from one which occupies the whole of the space left for it in the floor. -- Well sweep. Same as Sweep, n., 12. -- Well water, the water that flows into a well from subterraneous springs; the water drawn from a well.

    2. Well v. i. [imp. & p. p. Welled ; p. pr. & vb. n. Welling.] [OE. wellen, AS. wyllan, wellan, fr. weallan; akin to OFries. walla, OS. & OHG. wallan, G. wallen, Icel. vella, G. welle, wave, OHG. wella, walm, AS. wylm; cf. L. volvere to roll, Gr. to inwrap, to roll. Cf. Voluble, Wallop to boil, Wallow, Weld of metal.] To issue forth, as water from the earth; to flow; to spring. “[Blood] welled from out the wound.” Dryden. “[Yon spring] wells softly forth.” Bryant.

      From his two springs in Gojam's sunny realm,

      Pure welling out, he through the lucid lake

      Of fair Dambea rolls his infant streams. Thomson.

    3. Well, v. t. To pour forth, as from a well. Spenser.

    4. Well, adv. [Compar. and superl. wanting, the deficiency being supplied by better and best, from another root.] [OE. wel, AS. wel; akin to OS., OFries., & D. wel, G. wohl, OHG. wola, wela, Icel. & Dan. vel, Sw. väl, Goth. waíla; originally meaning, according to one's will or wish. See Will, v. t., and cf. Wealth.]

      1. In a good or proper manner; justly; rightly; not ill or wickedly.

      If thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. Gen. iv. 7.

      2. Suitably to one's condition, to the occasion, or to a proposed end or use; suitably; abundantly; fully; adequately; thoroughly.

      Lot . . . beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere. Gen. xiii. 10.

      WE are wellable to overcome it. Num. xiii. 30.

      She looketh well to the ways of her household. Prov. xxxi. 27.

      Servant of God, well done! well hast thou fought

      The better fight. Milton.

      3. Fully or about; -- used with numbers. [Obs.] “Well a ten or twelve.” Chaucer.

      Well nine and twenty in a company. Chaucer.

      4. In such manner as is desirable; so as one could wish; satisfactorily; favorably; advantageously; conveniently. “It boded well to you.” Dryden.


      In measure what the mind may well contain. Milton.

      All the world speaks well of you. Pope.

      5. Considerably; not a little; far.

      Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age. Gen. xviii. 11.

      ☞ Well is sometimes used elliptically for it is well, as an expression of satisfaction with what has been said or done, and sometimes it expresses concession, or is merely expletive; as, well, the work is done; well, let us go; well, well, be it so.

      ☞ Well, like above, ill, and so, is used before many participial adjectives in its usual adverbial senses, and subject to the same custom with regard to the use of the hyphen ( see the Note under Ill, adv. ); as, a well-affected supporter; he was well affected toward the project; a well-trained speaker; he was well trained in speaking; well-educated, or well educated; well-dressed, or well dressed; well-appearing; well-behaved; well-controlled; well-designed; well-directed; well-formed; well-meant; well-minded; well-ordered; well-performed; well-pleased; well-pleasing; well-seasoned; well-steered; well-tasted; well-told, etc. Such compound epithets usually have an obvious meaning, and since they may be formed at will, only a few of this class are given in the Vocabulary.

      As well. See under As. -- As well as, and also; together with; not less than; one as much as the other; as, “a sickness long, as well as severe; London is the largest city in England, as well as the capital”. -- Well enough, well or good in a moderate degree; so as to give satisfaction, or so as to require no alteration. -- Well off, in good condition; especially, in good condition as to property or any advantages; thriving; prosperous. -- Well to do, well off; prosperous; -- used also adjectively. “The class well to do in the world.” J. H. Newman. -- Well to live, in easy circumstances; well off; well to do. Shak.

    5. Well, a.

      1. Good in condition or circumstances; desirable, either in a natural or moral sense; fortunate; convenient; advantageous; happy; as, “it is well for the country that the crops did not fail; it is well that the mistake was discovered”.

      It was well with us in Egypt. Num. xi. 18.

      2. Being in health; sound in body; not ailing, diseased, or sick; healthy; as, “a well man; the patient is perfectly well”. “Your friends are well.” Shak.

      Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Gen. xliii. 27.

      3. Being in favor; favored; fortunate.

      He followed the fortunes of that family, and was well with Henry the Fourth. Dryden.

      4. ( Marine Insurance ) Safe; as, “a chip warranted well at a certain day and place”. Burrill.