Pronunciation Noun

weal (uncountable)

  1. (obsolete) Wealth, riches. [10th-19th c.]
  2. (literary) Welfare, prosperity. [from 10th c.]
    • 1626, Francis Bacon, The New Atlantis
      as we love the weal of our souls and bodies
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 8”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      to him linked in weal or woe
  3. (by extension) Boon, benefit.
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 557:
      And indeed I blamed myself and sore repented me of having taken compassion on him and continued in this condition, suffering fatigue not to be described, till I said to myself, "I wrought him a weal and he requited me with my ill; by Allah, never more will I do any man a service so long as I live!"
  4. Specifically, the general happiness of a community, country etc. (often with qualifying word). [from 15th c.]
    • 1849, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter IV, in The History of England from the Accession of James II, volume I, London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, OCLC 1069526323 ↗, page 515 ↗:
      Yet never was there a time when it more concerned the public weal, that the character of the parliament should stand high.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter IV, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855 ↗:
      The austerity of my tone seemed to touch a nerve and kindle the fire that always slept in this vermilion-headed menace to the common weal [...]
    • 2002, Colin Jones (historian), The Great Nation, Penguin 2003, p. 372:
      Louis could aim to restyle himself the first among citizens, viewing virtuous attachment to the public weal as his most important kingly duty.
Related terms
  • in weal or woe
  • Russian: благосостоя́ние
  • Spanish: bien común

weal (plural weals)

  1. A raised#Adjective|raised, longitudinal wound#Noun|wound, usually purple, on the surface#Noun|surface of flesh cause#Verb|caused by a stroke#Noun|stroke of a rod or whip#Noun|whip; a welt.
    Synonyms: wheal
    • 1796, J[ohn] G[abriel] Stedman, chapter XII, in Narrative of a Five Years’ Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, in Guiana, on the Wild Coast of South America; […], volume I, London: J[oseph] Johnson, […], and J. Edwards, […], OCLC 13966308 ↗, page 296 ↗:
      [A]lthough a few [slaves] live comfortably at Paramaribo, the greateſt number are wretched, particularly thoſe governed by a lady, who have many weals to ſhow, but not the ſmallest indulgence to boaſt of.
    • 1892, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “[The Great Shadow] The End of the Storm”, in The Great Shadow and Beyond the City, Bristol: J. W. Arrowsmith, […]; London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., OCLC 1000339207 ↗, pages 140–141 ↗:
      He turned as I struck him and fired full into my face, and the bullet left a weal across my cheek which will mark me to my dying day.
    • 1958, T. H. White, The Once and Future King, London: Collins, 1959, Chapter 16,
      He had been slashed sixteen times by mighty boars, and his legs had white weals of shiny flesh that stretched right up to his ribs.
    • 2007, Tan Twan Eng, The Gift of Rain, New York: Weinstein Books, Book Two, Chapter Twenty-One, p. 422,
      And I saw the green island in the immense sea, the borders of the sea curling with a lining of light, like a vast piece of rice paper, its edges alive with weals of red embers, ready to burst into flame.
  • German: Strieme
  • Italian: pomfo
  • Russian: рубе́ц
  • Spanish: roncha

weal (weals, present participle wealing; past and past participle wealed)

  1. To mark with stripes; to wale.

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