• IPA: /wɛl/. When used as an interjection, but not otherwise, occasional weak form /wəl/.

well (comparative better, superlative best)

  1. (manner) Accurately, competently, satisfactorily.
    He does his job well.
    • 2016, [https://web.archive.org/web/20171023035740/https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/lets-learn-english-lesson-7-what-are-you-doing/3240468.html VOA Learning English] (public domain)
      This day is not going well.
  2. (manner) Completely, fully.
    a well done steak
    We’re well beat now.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter II, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 0147 ↗:
      Carried somehow, somewhither, for some reason, on these surging floods, were these travelers, […]. Even such a boat as the Mount Vernon offered a total deck space so cramped as to leave secrecy or privacy well out of the question, even had the motley and democratic assemblage of passengers been disposed to accord either.
  3. (degree) To a significant degree.
    That author is well known.
  4. (degree, British, 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.
  5. In a desirable manner; so as one could wish; satisfactorily; favourably; advantageously.
    • It boded well to you.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 7”, 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 ↗:
      Know / In measure what the mind may well contain.
    • October 10, 1714, Alexander Pope, letter to Joseph Addison
      All the world speaks well of you.
Translations Translations Translations
  • French: bien
  • Portuguese: bem
  • Russian: хорошо́
  • Spanish: bien
Translations Adjective

well (comparative better, superlative best)

  1. In good health.
    I had been sick, but now I'm well.
  2. (hypercorrect) Good, content.
    “How are you?” — “I'm well, thank you!”
  3. (archaic) Prudent; good; well-advised.
    • 1897, National Association of Railway Surgeons, Railway surgeon, page 191:
      On leaving the operating table it is well to put the patient in a bed previously warmed and supplied with hot cans.
Translations Interjection
  1. Used to acknowledge a statement or situation.
    “The car is broken.” “Well, we could walk to the movies instead.”
    “I didn't like the music.” “Well, I thought it was good.”
    “I forgot to pack the tent! 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. An exclamation of indignance.
    Well! There was no need to say that in front of my mother!
  4. Used in speech to express the overcoming of reluctance to say something.
    It was a bit... well... too loud.
  5. Used in speech to fill gaps, particularly at the beginning of a response to a question; filled pause.
    “So what have you been doing?” “Well, we went for a picnic, and then it started raining so we came home early.”
    • 2016, [https://web.archive.org/web/20171030003034/https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/lets-learn-english-lesson-8-are-you-busy/3253185.html VOA Learning English] (public domain)
      Well, I am sorry. - It’s okay, Anna.
  6. (Hiberno-English) Used as a greeting
    Well lads. How's things?
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations
  • French: tiens!
  • Portuguese: ora, ora, muito bem, muito que bem
  • Russian: так
  • Spanish: vaya, anda, mira
Translations Noun

well (plural wells)

  1. A hole sunk into the ground as a source of water, oil, natural gas or other fluids.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, John iv:11 ↗:
      The woman said unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.
  2. A place where a liquid such as water surfaces naturally; a spring.
    • 1645, John Milton, Poems of Mr. John Milton, […] , London: Printed by Ruth Raworth for Humphrey Moſely,  […], OCLC 606951673 ↗:
      Begin, then, sisters of the sacred well.
  3. A small depression suitable for holding liquid or other objects.
    Make a well in the dough mixture and pour in the milk.
  4. (figurative) A source of supply.
    • Dan Chaucer, well of English undefiled
    • a well of serious thought and pure
  5. (nautical) A vertical, cylindrical trunk in a ship, reaching down to the lowest part of the hull, through which the bilge pumps operate.
  6. (nautical) The cockpit of a sailboat.
  7. (nautical) 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 to keep fish alive while they are transported to market.
  8. (nautical) A vertical passage in the stern into which an auxiliary screw propeller may be drawn up out of the water.
  9. (military) A hole or excavation in the earth, in mining, from which run branches or galleries.
  10. (architecture) An opening through the floors of a building, as for a staircase or an elevator; a wellhole.
  11. The open space between the bench and the counsel tables in a courtroom.
  12. (metalworking) The lower part of a furnace, into which the metal falls.
  13. A well drink.
    They're having a special tonight: $1 wells.
  14. (video games) The playfield of Tetris and similar video games, into which the blocks fall.
  15. (biology) In a microtiter plate, each of the small equal circular or square sections which serve as test tubes.
  • (excavation in the earth, from which run branches or galleries) shaft
Translations Translations Translations Verb

well (wells, present participle welling; past and past participle welled)

  1. (intransitive) To issue forth, as water from the earth; to flow; to spring.
    • [Blood] welled from out the wound.
    • [Yon spring] wells softly forth.
  2. (intransitive) To have something seep out of the surface.
    Her eyes welled with tears.

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