Main definitions of well in English

: well1well2

well1

adverb

  • 1In a good or satisfactory way:

    ‘the whole team played well’
    • ‘Sparky would make an ideal family pet as he responds well to praise and attention and is friendly towards people.’
    • ‘What the committee saw in fact was a course which stood up remarkably well to the almost unrelenting rain.’
    • ‘I do not want the outcome of a big game coming down to how well the ref tosses up the ball.’
    • ‘Lessons are well planned and build well on what pupils have learnt before.’
    • ‘Here was a woman who had done her best to raise her family well in difficult circumstances.’
    • ‘My mash was creamy and tasty, and the leeks complemented the hotpot well.’
    • ‘The ciabatta, crisp and coated in garlic was an excellent accompaniment and mixed well with the coulee.’
    • ‘Davies says music is taught well in Orkney and he links that to the fact that almost every child goes to the local high school.’
    • ‘Ensure you get plenty of sleep, eat well, and take breaks between exam and study periods.’
    • ‘In fact, we hit it off so well that we ended up talking for more than five hours that afternoon.’
    • ‘You can tell when the team has played well or badly by the atmosphere in every pub, club, shop, office and factory.’
    • ‘We think we have modernised quite well in this town and in the county.’
    • ‘Remember that red onions store less well than white, so use them first.’
    • ‘Given he stated it did not translate, I think he translated it quite well.’
    • ‘Does the ability to play the keyboard or bat well on a cricket team really matter?’
    • ‘I have been sleeping well the last few nights and my mood has been pretty good.’
    • ‘He's got a good all-round game, he volleys well and people don't give him a lot of credit for that.’
    • ‘Both teams started well then hit a trouble patch, and both are working on next-to-nothing budgets.’
    • ‘With the Community Hall progressing well, local clubs are planning for the future.’
    • ‘I'll say upfront that I really don't function well without regular quality sleep.’
    skilfully, with skill, ably, competently, proficiently, adeptly, adroitly, deftly, dexterously, effectively, expertly, with expertise, admirably, excellently, consummately, professionally
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 In a way that is appropriate to the facts or circumstances:
      ‘you did well to come and tell me’
      [as submodifier, in combination] ‘a well-timed exit’
      • ‘It suited these people too well personally and politically to do anything else.’
      • ‘It draws from existing case law and fits well within good human resources practice.’
      • ‘For now, however, users would do well to exercise extreme caution in updating their machines.’
      • ‘I think you've had some excellent advice above and you'd do well to follow it.’
      • ‘In fact, it works well to lean down on your arm and use your weight to help yourself pivot.’
      • ‘The private investor in north London has a stake in a unique firm and you would do well to follow him in.’
      • ‘The aim of the fund is to be well positioned to take advantage of positive market movements at any time.’
      • ‘You hold your own in an argument because you are always well armed with the facts.’
      • ‘In fact he adapted so well that he was to spend the next twenty seven and a half years in the Police Force.’
      • ‘He reckons he'll fit in well, despite the fact that he isn't an especially strong candidate.’
      • ‘The authors who undertake succeeding volumes will do well to follow the lead set by Stanley Hall.’
      • ‘The personnel may change but Simon has been a constant and it's his vision that other venues would do well to follow.’
      • ‘She turned out to be alright and she integrated herself into the pack quite well.’
      • ‘People would do well not to listen to anyone behaving like a contented frog.’
      • ‘Part-time football hasn't been a hindrance at this club and many others would do well to follow suit.’
      • ‘It is setting an example that Bradford council would do well to follow.’
      • ‘As the global economy itself starts to grow we are well positioned to take advantage of the upturn.’
      • ‘What function is performed by standing rules in judicial review, and how well do the rules serve that function?’
      • ‘The desert sheep is an interesting breed, well adapted to local conditions.’
      • ‘By my observation a daily routine works well for people who work at home.’
      satisfactorily, in a satisfactory manner, in a satisfactory way, nicely, correctly, rightly, properly, fittingly, suitably, aptly, appropriately
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 So as to have a fortunate outcome:
      ‘his campaign was not going well’
      • ‘You can't know how well you will perform under stress until you encounter it.’
      • ‘Their last album did extraordinarily well, and now people are looking to them to be the future of music.’
      • ‘Obviously it would have been a disappointment had I not gotten the job, but luckily things worked out well.’
      • ‘The first phase has sold well, and profits from this will be realised in the second half.’
      • ‘I've always run really well in practice, and I have been fortunate to qualify well.’
      • ‘I think once people start wearing them around and start blogging about them, they'll sell quite well.’
      • ‘Once a month they will get the chance to sell shares that are not doing well and buy profitable ones.’
      • ‘And the fact that things are going so well on the football front has made settling in a lot easier.’
      • ‘He thought that if my baby was born now, at 36 weeks, it would fare quite well.’
      • ‘Britain is doing quite well at reducing emissions, concedes John Whitelegg of the SEI.’
      • ‘Fortunately, it's worked out well and been a financial success, but did we know that going in?’
      • ‘Why are firms doing quite well when the economy is doing rather badly?’
      • ‘They knew which teams were doing well and which players were on form.’
      • ‘The gaming done, I began my performance of festive music, which seemed to go down quite well.’
      • ‘We compare quite well with other services in the South West on this issue.’
      • ‘If Fernando has done well there is praise, if he had been booked or cost Rangers a goal there is criticism and a tantrum.’
      • ‘Egg, Morgan Stanley and Tesco Personal Finance also fared well, with four stars each.’
      • ‘Although I'm not very good at musical instruments it worked out quite well.’
      • ‘This should be a very tough contest as both teams have performed well during the year.’
      • ‘The truth is that if companies do well and grow their profits over time, their shares will increase in value.’
    3. 1.3 In a kind way:
      ‘the animals will remain loyal to humans if treated well’
      • ‘People treat me well because they know who my father is and they know what he can do for them.’
      • ‘If you want to be treated well, then very sweetly but firmly demand the respect you want.’
      • ‘That's their job, and if they want to stay employed, they will treat customers well.’
      • ‘He went on to say how well he had been treated in hospital and thanked me as a member of the team who had treated him.’
      • ‘He recognized early on that employees will be diligent at their jobs if they are treated well.’
      • ‘I was impressed with how well he treats the little guys and thought you might like to know.’
      • ‘I'm delighted that he is going to have a lovely semi-retirement with owners who will treat him well.’
      • ‘Workhouses that existed in Rochdale at that time were small and inmates were treated well.’
      • ‘If we want to keep the crew we have, we have to treat them well and stay competitive, and that's not free.’
      • ‘He has promised that if anything should happen to me, he will try to ensure sure that you are well treated.’
      • ‘That's where he also learned that a good horse trainer knows you have to treat horses well.’
      • ‘I think as a general rule as a society we wish to treat animals well, we wish to be humane.’
      • ‘The note further explained he was content because his colleagues had treated him well.’
      • ‘They treated him well, taking him to a hospital where he was given food and three operations.’
      • ‘I have been treated so well by Mike over the years and I just wanted to return the favour.’
      • ‘I wanted to give something back to the community that has treated me so well.’
      • ‘Here we see people who are treated so well, and so much happiness is brought into their lives.’
      • ‘They said that as he was the only son, just like his uncle, he must be treated especially well.’
      • ‘They will want to be treated properly and well at the nearest hospital.’
      • ‘We all like people to treat us well, to acknowledge us, to talk to us, to bond with us.’
      decently, fairly, civilly, politely, genially, kindly, in a kind way, in a kindly way, generously, hospitably
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 With praise or approval:
      ‘people spoke well of him’
      ‘the film was quite well reviewed at the time’
      • ‘I recount this simple event not to promote the fact that I am well thought of by a few patients.’
      • ‘The real deal is to explain why such stories should be so well received by the people of Taiwan.’
      • ‘It is hard to fault him for the conduct that caused the public to think well of him.’
      • ‘This is a major relief organisation working across India and which is extremely well respected.’
      • ‘Mr Harding is not only of good character, and a number of people have spoken well of him.’
      • ‘It was at a television show that Muthoni's mother spoke well of her daughter's abilities after attending a special school where music was well factored.’
      • ‘At no time did the partisans of the opposition speak well of Joseph Smith.’
      • ‘You need to be tough to win this race and many well touted thoroughbreds have been found out by the mile and a half.’
      admiringly, highly, approvingly, favourably, appreciatively, warmly, enthusiastically, glowingly, with admiration, with praise, with approbation
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5 With equanimity:
      ‘she took it very well, all things considered’
      • ‘Christine took the bad news well enough but the rest of the Top 9 contestants were devastated to see their fellow singer sent home.’
      • ‘The way to get a promotion is to take criticism well, but most people don't know they don't do it well.’
    6. 1.6 Profitably; advantageously:
      ‘she would marry well or not at all’
      • ‘Men controlled the fates of women, whose expected aim in life was to marry well.’
      • ‘They were a family line who seemed to have specialised in marrying well.’
      • ‘Olga predicated that it would him and myself who would marry well into St Petersburg society.’
      • ‘She had been considered very attractive when she was younger, and had married well at the time.’
    7. 1.7 In a condition of prosperity or comfort:
      ‘they lived well and were generous with their money’
      • ‘But the truth is that he is a fine person who enjoys life and lives it well.’
      • ‘He lives well in Covent Garden and owns a substantial hoard of art himself.’
      • ‘It does not see that a nation being prosperous is about individual citizens living well.’
      • ‘We want to live well, but we want all to live well, and so we have to help each other.’
      • ‘He lived well and also lived it up, going to all the dances run by the pipe band.’
      • ‘Death will still bring us peace, but the challenge is how to live this life well, not waste time preparing for the next.’
      • ‘Both have suffered with their health in recent years but live happily and remarkably well.’
      • ‘You see, although he earns a good wage, he likes to live well and parties hard.’
      • ‘But that meant rents were cheap and people like me could live well and do our art.’
      • ‘It somewhat reminds him of New York but it is nowhere near as expensive to live well.’
      • ‘People won't be inspired to learn Mandarin because a lot of them are already living well.’
      • ‘By living well within his means, he's made sure that he's always got money left over at the end of each month.’
      • ‘We see more of the association between being good and living well in section 17.’
      • ‘You must honor William's memory by living well until sadly fate decrees it is your time to leave this world.’
      • ‘The environmental project must succeed if we are to live well on this beautiful world of ours.’
      • ‘Hers was a career that spanned some seven decades and, most of all, a life well lived.’
      • ‘We depend on those things, and they set the benchmark for how well we live in this country.’
      • ‘He lives well in Notting Hill and can often be seen out dining with Stephen Fry or fellow former players.’
      • ‘The two contenders have said we have to take their hand if we're to live well and live safely.’
      • ‘No other writer or thinker had said precisely what he says about what it is to live well.’
      comfortably, in comfort, in luxury, in the lap of luxury, in ease, splendidly, prosperously, without hardship
      View synonyms
    8. 1.8archaic Luckily; opportunely:
      ‘hail fellow, well met’
      • ‘He was "hail, fellow, well met" with everyone the moment he reached town.’
      • ‘Will it be a case of hail, hail fellow well met from the Broomloan slopes?’
      • ‘He is a jolly well-met fellow, like clubmen generally are, but perfectly honorable and straightforward.’
  • 2In a thorough manner:

    ‘add the mustard and lemon juice and mix well’
    • ‘Stir in the rice and break up any clumps so that all the grains get coated individually and everything mixes up well.’
    • ‘Fold together with a wooden spoon until the fish is well mixed through.’
    • ‘When the vegetables have softened, add all the peas and stir them well into the vegetable mix.’
    • ‘Gently stir together the first six ingredients with a pinch of salt until well mixed.’
    • ‘The waste matter would have to be chopped and mixed fairly well in the earth.’
    • ‘Purée and pass through a fine sieve, combine with the potato purée, mix well and place in a piping bag.’
    • ‘Fold in the mayonnaise and sour cream, season to taste and mix gently but well.’
    • ‘Warm the rum in a small saucepan and add to the fruit, mix well and let the mixture stand for at least a day but up to three.’
    • ‘Mix well - no dry ingredients should be visible and the mixture should be quite firm.’
    • ‘Combine mandarins, egg mixture, almonds and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well.’
    • ‘Add some finely ground sweet almonds and mix well to form a smooth, easy to spread paste.’
    • ‘Open the can of milk and pour into the whipped cream; mix well and then fold in the egg whites.’
    • ‘Mix all the ingredients well before adding only enough water to make the mixture moist.’
    • ‘Stir in the pasta, season with salt and pepper, and mix it well with the tomatoes and herbs.’
    • ‘Mix well and spray thoroughly over both sides of the foliage and onto the offending pest.’
    • ‘Tim stirred it well, to mix in all the little left behind bits of fried chicken, garlic and breadcrumbs.’
    • ‘Most cookbooks get over this difficult stage by saying mix thoroughly and knead well.’
    • ‘Wash basmati well to get rid of the extra starch and give it a good stir when you add it to the water.’
    • ‘Dissolve one cup of washing soda in a litre of hot water and add the soap solution, mixing well.’
    • ‘The pectin didn't blend well into the liquid, so to get rid of any lumps, I used a hand blender.’
    thoroughly, completely, efficiently, rigorously, effectively, conscientiously, industriously, carefully
    carefully, closely, attentively, rigorously, in depth, exhaustively, from top to bottom, minutely, in detail, meticulously, scrupulously, assiduously, conscientiously, painstakingly, methodically, completely, comprehensively, fully, to the fullest extent, intensively, extensively
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 To a great extent or degree (often used for emphasis):
      ‘the visit had been planned well in advance’
      [as submodifier, in combination] ‘a well-loved colleague’
      ‘a well-deserved reputation’
      • ‘They worship a great force, an entity, which could probably be well likened to Mother Nature.’
      • ‘With extension plans well underway, work is expected to be completed by the end of next year.’
      • ‘The annual school tour plans are well underway and parents will be notified in due course.’
      • ‘I thought given the circumstances it was best to keep you well anesthetized during your ordeal.’
      • ‘Plans to extend the fishery are well advanced and it is hoped to commence work in the next few weeks.’
      • ‘We rate our job satisfaction well below those in most other western countries rate theirs.’
      • ‘The engine temperature shot up to well over 100 degrees and I had no choice but to bring the car into the pits.’
      • ‘Mr Waters was happy to see that preparations for the arrival of the birds are well in hand.’
      • ‘The text is well illustrated with plans and many photographs of the exterior of the complex.’
      • ‘They had travelled south from York to seek fame and fortune, and seemed well on the way to finding both.’
      • ‘All of these roadworks were planned well before the holding of a referendum was considered and decided upon.’
      • ‘‘You're supposed to travel along it,’ said a small boy with a raspy voice that was well out of proportion with his body size.’
      • ‘It was a fabulous gig, and the fans were so revved up by the event that we all must have stayed up well past 11.35 pm.’
      • ‘That plan appeared to be well on course until a flurry of wickets shortly after tea had West Indies wobbling.’
      • ‘He lost his highly-paid job with a Fortune 500 and was unemployed for well over a year.’
      • ‘Many of the impacts of human activities are well documented and understood.’
      • ‘From that moment on I vowed to plan my costume well in advance and put a little thought into it.’
      • ‘I have not been informed and clearly witnesses have to be told well in advance so they can plan around the dates.’
      • ‘The key to planning a holiday for a large party is to book well in advance to ensure you all fly together and stay in the same hotel.’
      • ‘The fact that well over a thousand people signed your petition shows it struck a chord with your readers.’
      considerably, very much, greatly, to a great degree, to a great extent, to a marked degree, to a marked extent, a great deal, markedly, decidedly, substantially, easily, comfortably, materially, significantly, signally
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Intimately; closely:
      ‘he knew my father very well’
      • ‘Likewise, don't help yourself to drink unless you know your hosts extremely well.’
      • ‘The thing to remember is that I knew all these people well for all my adult life up to that point.’
      • ‘I left not long after the meal was complete, having said hello to most of the people I knew well.’
      • ‘I was extremely well versed in the history of intoxication in relation to creativity.’
      • ‘I, and many people who knew him well, were saddened when we heard of his violent death.’
      • ‘We got to know each other quite well, and started seeing each other outside of work.’
      • ‘I am fortunate to have a spouse that knows me well, and supports me in every way.’
      • ‘They also explain the reason for their joy to Van der Post's interpreter, a man I know quite well.’
      • ‘It was a very long casting process and I met Will very early on so we already knew each other quite well by the time it came to filming.’
      • ‘They know the area well which is an advantage in trying to predict the weather.’
      • ‘I used to know Charles Clarke quite well 10 years ago, before he entered parliament.’
      • ‘My point of order is that the Prime Minister knows full well the process of approvals.’
      • ‘It's a hospital I know well as I spent quite a few weeks there over a number of years when I was very young.’
      • ‘works of the seven, he adopts the more personal stance of one well versed in the arts.’
      • ‘I was a policeman in Bradford from 1959 to 1961 so got to know the centre of the city quite well.’
      • ‘People who are well versed in hip-hop understand the need for diversity in the culture.’
      • ‘We had to go for an interview and induction, but I know Manchester quite well so it will be easy to give directions.’
      harmoniously, agreeably, pleasantly, nicely, happily, politely, amicably, amiably, affably, genially, peaceably
      intimately, thoroughly, fully, deeply, profoundly, personally
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3British informal [as submodifier] Very; extremely:
      ‘he was well out of order’
      • ‘Taking holding costs and dividends into account, the Government is well out of pocket.’
      • ‘The £525m Barchester offered for the group was well out of reach for the other bidders.’
      • ‘I asked him a few questions - it became clear that he was well out of his depth.’
      • ‘A 15 per cent council tax rise is well out of order, especially if it includes spending £2.7 million on an art museum.’
      • ‘And with the sun behind us, we knew we were well out of sight - drifting south, with a pack of dark shapes circling our feet.’
      • ‘Last time around poor selection decisions and an even poorer campaign meant they were well out of the running.’
      • ‘But this is well out of line, according to a spokesman for the premium rate watchdog, ICSTIS.’
      • ‘Fingers crossed, this should have worked, and it should now all look well pretty and grooved out.’
      • ‘He strode to his office, not sure where else he could go at the moment, the situation was well out of his hands.’
      • ‘And railways especially were well out of fashion.’
      • ‘In any event, an appeal against the order of 3 March 2000 is well out of time, the parties have acted in the meantime on the basis that the order was not under challenge, and it would be wrong, now, to extend time.’
      • ‘The hotel was well out of the centre in a slightly grotty area, and so there wasn't much to see in the immediate vicinity, but in any case I wanted to work on the act for the night.’
      • ‘‘The incident involving the car tyres is well out of his professional character and conduct,’ he said.’
      • ‘I can accept the thieving but to set fire to it is well out of order.’
      • ‘I realised my daughter was well out of the way and my only thought was to get out.’
      • ‘However there was a feeling that we were well out of order in doing so.’
      • ‘I thought it was well dodgy and I hope they get one back against them in Turin.’
      • ‘‘All the furniture is well out of the way, it's just a shell now until it goes down and dries out,’ he said.’
      • ‘This house on the Uxbridge Road was the perfect place for them to compose their music as it isn't overlooked by any other houses and is well out of earshot of the neighbours.’
      • ‘The hook was well out of shape and the nylon was chewed to nearly half its original diameter.’
    4. 2.4[with submodifier] Used as an intensifier:
      ‘I should jolly well hope so’
      • ‘Which is the only Starbucks I've ever felt inclined to go into, and it was bloody well closed.’
      • ‘I knew bloody well there must be a telex, and I went to the Armenian foreign ministry.’
      • ‘At this point, Brash should have told Dallow to bloody well look it up for himself.’
      • ‘You like whatever you bloody well like, darling, and don't you dare apologise for it!’
      • ‘They knew bloody well that these people were doing harmful things to innocent people.’
      • ‘A classic remark - and for the record, yes it bloody well did hurt and it still does!’
      • ‘To which my response is, Yes, it bloody well would be a good idea to find out what science can tell us about emotion.’
      • ‘If you're watching tv at 10 in the morning on a working day you bloody well shouldn't be.’
      • ‘His advantage is that they are his own; he created them so he will bloody well use them.’
      • ‘Works bloody well: I can now take a heavy day and feel all right the next morning.’
      • ‘Two people who love each other want to get married, then bloody well get married!’
      • ‘After the fifth attempt he decided just to get it over with and whatever noises in the background could damn well stay there.’
      • ‘He knew he had to tell her… he knew why she hated him so much, and he bloody well deserved it!’
      • ‘This shows us both that we can do better, and that we bloody well should.’
      • ‘If it means to override freedom of expression, then it can bloody well go on the record and say so.’
      • ‘Drop your Salient right now and bang your head against the nearest wall until it ruddy well hurts!’
      • ‘The ties were a disgrace, mind, but if we have to wear dusky pink to get a result then we bloody well will.’
  • 3[with modal] Very probably; in all likelihood:

    ‘being short of breath may well be the first sign of asthma’
    • ‘The outcome of that duel may well settle the series, and on current evidence there is only one winner.’
    • ‘The outcome of the match may well be determined by how quiet Ferdinand can keep the effusive Jermain Defoe.’
    • ‘By the time you read this, we may well know the outcome of the US presidential race.’
    • ‘There may well have been reasons for this omission in the context of the entire trial.’
    • ‘In doing this the Methodists may well be returning to what was probably the role of religion for centuries.’
    • ‘While not the finished article, the Scottish bid team believe they are well on the way to giving the same assurance.’
    • ‘This may well have been the reason for the girls being chosen to represent their school.’
    • ‘Consolidation may well benefit shareholders of the acquired company in the short-term.’
    • ‘That, at least to some extent, may well be no more than a reflection of my lack of expertise in this field.’
    • ‘These may well be the same birds at times congregating on flooded pits at Tottenhill on the fen borders.’
    • ‘Had any of these been converted the outcome could well have been a different story.’
    • ‘The declining fortunes of the male soul singer may well be the late Barry White's most lasting legacy.’
    • ‘In such cases, luck plays a part and it might well decide the outcome of the match!’
    • ‘This suggests the plans may well go ahead at a later date, something which we are dead against and always will be.’
    • ‘In that way a far healthier outcome could well be achieved from all points of view in the long run.’
    • ‘Mind you whatever the outcome it could well be one of the games of the entire year.’
    • ‘If so, the risk of litigation might well discourage the practice of defensive hacking even if it should be legal.’
    • ‘In those circumstances our accountant may well find himself open to offers from criminals.’
    • ‘Indicators of what is possible and what is required may well follow from the results of a strategic assessment.’
    • ‘He would probably deny this, but it might well be a way of hiding his red-eyed blushes, and sparing ours.’
    • ‘The results may be within the margin of error, but the outcome could well be determined by the margin of litigation.’
    • ‘In my opinion that excessive number could well be the main reason for most of the school's problems.’
    quite possibly, conceivably, quite likely, probably
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Without difficulty:
      ‘she could well afford to pay for the reception herself’
      • ‘I think he could well win, provided his relationship with Michelle doesn't degenerate.’
      • ‘They could well afford it, given the umpteen millions they rake in from the motoring public.’
      • ‘Does it make sense to give each of us a subsidy, when we can perfectly well afford the full price?’
      • ‘Many people who are well able to afford meat prefer lentils, which form an excellent food without any meat.’
      • ‘The couple can well afford to pay the fine, but should probably get rid of their lax driver.’
      • ‘Siguenza was educated at home, his father being well able to provide the education his son needed.’
      easily, comfortably, readily, with ease, without difficulty, effortlessly
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2 With good reason:
      ‘‘What are we doing here?’ ‘You may well ask.’’
      • ‘Why, you may well ask, does The Register class vagueness of this order as a clarification?’
      • ‘Merchants could well balk at supporting incompatible payment operations.’
      • ‘Your Lordship has well in mind the degree to which the arguments found favour and to which they did not.’

adjective

  • 1In good health; free or recovered from illness:

    ‘I don't feel very well’
    ‘it would be some time before Sarah was completely well’
    [attributive] informal ‘I am not a well man’
    • ‘I hope Pauric gets well soon and can keep that Old Fair Day going for many more years.’
    • ‘It was 30 years too late but he was still alive and well and hoped to provide for his children.’
    • ‘Mason Brown took remedial action, prescribed his own cure and is now completely well.’
    • ‘He's still not well but the slower pace of life is getting rid of his stress.’
    • ‘Of course, Agassi is alive and well and has we hope a good many decades of health and happiness left.’
    • ‘He is not particularly well at the moment.’
    • ‘I'm very well, thank you.’
    • ‘While everyone hopes she will be found safe and well, the likelihood now is that she may not have survived.’
    • ‘Dear Husband, I write these few lines hoping to find you well as it leaves us at present.’
    • ‘It has also correctly labelled as disease free most, but not all, of the well people.’
    • ‘Betty gave him cardboard boxes and cotton wool but always told him that when the bird was well, he would have to let it go.’
    • ‘To most people, she looks perfectly well, but in fact she came close to death due to her illness.’
    • ‘We extend the best wishes of everyone to Wendy Bryant and hope that she gets well soon.’
    • ‘The Melbourne show was a month or so before he was given the diagnosis of his cancer, but it was apparent that he wasn't a well man.’
    • ‘She is indeed very well, thank you.’
    • ‘He assumed that his best friend was in a cell very much like this one and hoped that he was well.’
    • ‘It was very brave of her to come to York as she is not a well lady.’
    • ‘Get well wishes were sent to Mary Foyle who is recovering after her recent illness.’
    • ‘He's not a well man, you know, and his most consistently highly-paid gig has just upped and sacked him.’
    • ‘Symptoms are often overlooked, as they are mild and commonly experienced by well people.’
    healthy, in good health, all right, fine, fit, fighting fit, as fit as a fiddle, as fit as a flea, robust, strong, vigorous, blooming, thriving, bursting with health, in rude health, hale, hale and hearty, hearty, in good shape, in excellent shape, in good condition, in tip-top condition, in good trim, in fine fettle, sound, sound in body and limb
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 In a satisfactory state or position:
      ‘I do hope all is well with you and your family’
      • ‘I wish Scott and Caroline and Lorna well and I hope they get away with it for ever.’
      • ‘Shruti's performance received a standing ovation from critics, artists and well wishers.’
      • ‘To this I wish Cllr Clarke well and hope she will help to carry on the Town Council's good name and work.’
      • ‘Pat is wished well and it is hoped his new venture will prove a great success.’
      • ‘Coun Francis wished the clerk well and he praised him for putting the council on a firm financial footing.’
      • ‘Hope all is well and that my mugshot has not caused too many upturned stomachs out there.’
      • ‘We wish them all well for May and hope they enjoy the next few months of preparation.’
      • ‘We wish St. Declan's well and hope they will retain this flag for many years to come.’
      • ‘Not my business but I do wish you well and I hope you have pleasant experiences in your learnings’
      • ‘Hope you're all well, though, and that you have a Happy and Prosperous New year.’
      • ‘If we'd gone home at the end of the meal, all would probably have been well.’
      • ‘Friends of the Kildare town man wish him well and hope to see him out and about soon.’
      • ‘I wish them all well and hope to see them all at some of the clubs in the future.’
      • ‘All would have been well except Emma decided that she had to have something to eat.’
      • ‘We wish him well and let us hope his first game against the Dubs ends in success.’
      • ‘It was great to know that this beautiful bird is alive and well again in the area.’
      • ‘It's just over a mile in all, and I arrive back wheezing for breath but alive and well.’
      • ‘I hope all's well down there in sunny -, and that you can find some time to write back.’
      • ‘Fortunately, they were found safe and well in Wigan town centre the following day.’
      • ‘He too wished him well and expressed a hope that he would enjoy and long and healthy retirement.’
      satisfactory, all right, fine, in order, as it should be, acceptable
      View synonyms
  • 2Sensible; advisable:

    ‘it would be well to know just what this suggestion entails’
    • ‘Only--if we decide to buy, it would be well to be moved in and settled before winter.’
    • ‘But would it not be well to limit grand juries to the investigation of felons, and leave misdemeanors to inferior courts?’
    advisable, sensible, prudent, politic, commonsensical, wise, canny, judicious, shrewd, expedient, provident, recommended, advantageous, beneficial, profitable, gainful, desirable
    View synonyms

exclamation

  • 1Used to express a range of emotions including surprise, anger, resignation, or relief:

    ‘Well, really! The manners of some people!’
    • ‘In my memory, he talked about nothing but himself - well, false modesty has never been his style.’
    • ‘Perhaps she thought by leaving it to the last minute I would have to accept it and, well, I did.’
    • ‘You can tell when people really got it or, well, that's not for me, and you always get a bit of that.’
    • ‘The message some of the Record's readers might take from the story is: well, it serves him right.’
    • ‘Oh well what a cunning plan and who do you think that it is that unintentionally ruins the plan for him?’
    • ‘Ah well, let's hope those of us who suffer from the winter blues will buck up soon.’
    • ‘When you cannot have the real thing, well, the best reproduction will have to do.’
    • ‘Does this automatically make me want to call for a ban on smoking - well, believe it or not, it doesn't.’
    • ‘That sounds arrogant but I liked the part, and I thought, well, who's he gonna get?’
    • ‘If I could look back and say, well, there was always the yacht - that would be something.’
    • ‘Ah well Paul, work provides my car when I need one, although buying one wouldn't be a stretch by any means.’
    • ‘Too busy partying and making money to settle down and have family, they seem to say, well, you'll be sorry!’
    1. 1.1 Used when pausing to consider one's next words, to mark the resumption or end of a conversation, etc.:
      ‘well, I suppose I could fit you in at 3.45’
      ‘well, cheers, Tom—I must fly’
      • ‘A company has been formed to do just that but negotiations are, well, slow.’
      • ‘Whether snapped in Times Square or Tiananmen Square, they always look, well, square.’
      • ‘The reason I had such bad withdrawal symptoms from bread must be because I was, well, addicted.’
      • ‘It would have been rude if I had turned round and said something, well, rude.’
      • ‘At the time, it was considered a shabby place to live, because, well, we were a shabby family.’
      • ‘Damian knows his science, and science is important to, well, everything now.’
      • ‘They have come here, in the depths of winter, because - well, because they want to.’
      • ‘The driver gets decent seat adjustment, so it is a case of settling back to enjoy, well, a very pleasant ride.’
      • ‘If this sounds like it could lead to sappy and sentimental situations, well, it does.’
      • ‘Well, duped is too strong a word for it, but mislead seems a bit, well, too innocent.’
    2. 1.2 Used to indicate that one is waiting for an answer or explanation from someone:
      ‘Well? You promised to tell me all about it’
      • ‘Have you finished reading Harry Potter yet? Well, have you?’
      • ‘For what it's worth, it reads: would you hit a lady - well, would the lady hit me back?’
      • ‘"Well, where do they come from then?"’
      • ‘If you don't think it is a good idea, well, what other ideas have you got?’

Usage

The adverb well is often used in combination with past participles to form adjectival compounds: well adjusted, well intentioned, well known, and so on. As far as hyphenation is concerned, the general stylistic principle is that if the adjectival compound is placed attributively (i.e. it comes before the noun), it should be hyphenated (a well-intentioned remark) but that if it is placed predicatively (i.e. standing alone after the verb), it should not be hyphenated (her remarks were well intentioned). In this dictionary the unhyphenated form is generally the only one given, although the hyphenated form may be seen in illustrative examples

Phrases

  • as well

    • 1In addition; too:

      ‘the museum provides hours of fun and a few surprises as well’
      • ‘These fish are not only amazingly well camouflaged but to me are surprisingly small as well.’
      • ‘To continue in the competition, the bands to have to impress the judges and the audience as well.’
      • ‘Some of my boys and some of the girls as well threw me a little surprise party on Saturday.’
      • ‘We are at the bottom in West Yorkshire and nationally we are quite low as well.’
      • ‘Add a smoulder of darker shadow to the outer area of the eyelid and sweep a little below the lower lash line as well.’
      • ‘The association meets on Saturdays but the new funding means it could open on Sundays as well.’
      • ‘Me and Eric walked into the living and I was surprised to see that my mum was here as well.’
      • ‘The doctors took her into theatre to drain fluid off her lungs, and her kidneys are failing as well.’
      • ‘I have phoned the council on numerous times and other people have made complaints as well.’
      • ‘Not only did this come as a surprise to her, but the rest of the school as well.’
      too, also, in addition, additionally, into the bargain, besides, furthermore, moreover, to boot
      together with, in addition to, along with, besides, plus, and, coupled with, with, over and above, on top of, over and beyond, not to mention, to say nothing of, let alone
      View synonyms
    • 2With equal reason or an equally good result:

      ‘I may as well have a look’
      • ‘Lastly, if the site or journal is too obscure, I may as well go post on some random message board.’
      • ‘If it gives way on every issue that crops up, it may as well board up the Town Hall and let the vandals take over.’
      • ‘Wallace's work is heroic, but he may as well be trying to empty the North Sea with a spoon.’
      • ‘Which might seem reasonable to some, but from my point of view it may as well be taking place on Mars.’
      • ‘I got the form to apply for the temporary youth worker job and frankly it might as well be written in Dutch.’
      • ‘That was only a decade and a bit ago, and yet it may as well have been a lifetime.’
      • ‘At home I lie gasping and read the Arabian Nights, but I may as well read the day's news.’
      • ‘It would simply involve creating such an abundance that the price of such goods may as well be zero.’
      • ‘It's a sad song, sure, but it may as well be Celine Dion for all the personal meaning it has for me.’
      • ‘If the top golfers are saying they may as well all pack up their bags for the next ten years it's a tragedy and very sad.’
      1. 2.1Sensible, appropriate, or desirable:
        ‘it would be as well to let him go’
        • ‘Thing is, you see, if you have to drive into town to lunch, you might just as well shop there.’
        • ‘They realise that they may as well get a job sooner rather than wait another couple of years.’
        • ‘All of which seems to say, if you're going to be 100, you may as well enjoy it while you can.’
        • ‘We may as well take advantage of reduced traffic to tend to other aspects of our lives.’
        • ‘The idea was that nothing very much happened in the summer, so you may as well cut your losses and run.’
        • ‘If you're going to have tempura, you might as well have it in a proper Japanese restaurant.’
        • ‘There'll be something else to panic about later, I might as well have a little tiny rest.’
        • ‘So you may as well get used to the idea of assuming some sort of online identity now.’
        • ‘It keeps in the freezer very well, so you may as well just buy it now if you plan to use it in any recipes.’
        • ‘If they are going to bother to print such an amazing fact, they may as well say why it is amazing.’
  • as well as

    • And in addition; and also:

      ‘a shop that sold books as well as newspapers’
      • ‘The bounty of the Amazon can be accounted for only if we consider time as well as space.’
      • ‘Characteristics of the studied strains indicating the presence of the 17 virulence factors as well as the eae type.’
      • ‘Each school kit contains materials for up to 80 children, as well as teaching supplies.’
      • ‘The kicks are delivered with great force and at toe, ankle and lower shin heights as well as into the mid leg range.’
      • ‘She is well behaved and will sit and give you her paw as well as obey basic commands.’
      • ‘Technical advances once more brought about new aesthetic possibilities as well as contradictions.’
      • ‘The design files can also be shared globally, for open-source hardware as well as software problem-solving.’
      • ‘A new enterprise in a new land would require much capital as well as credit.’
      • ‘The teachers interviewed used many of the strategies mentioned by Krashen and Terrell, as well as many they did not mention.’
      • ‘Student access to computer stations allows students to apply online to the college as well as apply for financial aid.’
  • as well he (or she etc.) might (or may)

    • Used to convey the speaker's opinion that a reaction is appropriate or unsurprising:

      ‘she sounded rather chipper, as well she might, given her bright prospects’
      • ‘Steve apologised to his family, as well he might.’
      • ‘In fact, he looks luminously happy throughout - as well he might be, as tonight's crowd are hugely enthusiastic, with frequent standing ovations between songs.’
      • ‘The young woman looks doubtful, as well she might.’
      • ‘Rembrandt has a quizzical, jesting expression, as well he may, in view of his wondrous hat and slashed leather jerkin, ornate with glass beads.’
      • ‘The prime minister looked worn and tense at his press conference yesterday, as well he might.’
      • ‘He looks at her suspiciously while doing so, as well he might.’
      • ‘He was clutching the two Oscars he'd just won for Braveheart and he looked extremely pleased with himself, as well he might.’
      • ‘He takes his music very seriously, as well he might.’
      • ‘Glint came in, looking tired out, and as well she might, trying to keep up with the three children.’
      • ‘Q put down his newspaper and looked mighty puzzled as well he might with this highly unusual - and therefore highly suspect - request.’
  • be well away

    • informal Having made considerable or easy progress:

      ‘if we got Terry to do that, we'd be well away’
      • ‘Flash In The Pan, Buffed, and Recapitalize were well away in a very open field of 13, with favorite Sir Dex trapped wide toward the rear.’
      • ‘Had the Bulldogs beaten the North West Leopards and managed a win instead of a draw against Griquas, the Bulldogs would have been well away - but, that's sport.’
      • ‘She adds: ‘By the evening I was well away, it was amazing.’’
      • ‘The shoots will be well away as soon as they are under the ground, giving the plant a head start and guaranteeing lots of delicious spuds.’
      • ‘I was well away after 2 glasses of wine with my meal, don't know what the matter was, I'm no lightweight!’
      • ‘Mummify and Walk On Air were well away, with Studebaker also on the pace.’
  • be well in with

    • informal Have a good relationship with (someone in a position of influence or authority):

      ‘you're well in with O'Brien aren't you’
      • ‘Several of his owners have stuck with him; not surprisingly, he is well in with the footballing owners.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the other player involved was well in with the manager, his blue-eyed boy, and I was the one who was ostracised.’
      • ‘Crito mentions that he is well in with the warder.’
      • ‘Then it was cross-town motorcycle delivery, and by the time we got to skydiving delivery I reckoned I was well in with the company.’
      • ‘Absolutely up to him whom he allows on his land, and I'm sure he is well in with the rest of the Cheshire Aristocracy, but, m'Lord, nine acres ain't exactly an ‘estate’ - it is a very nice garden with a home paddock and hopefully a bit of woodland.’
  • be well out of

    • informal Be fortunate to be no longer involved in (a situation).

      • ‘The kids were well out of it, double sharp, and Mattie… It was the only time I acted without thinking.’
      • ‘Given Libeskind's unhappy experiences since, maybe that was one project Viñoly was well out of.’
  • very well

    • Used to express agreement or consent:

      ‘oh very well then, come in’
      ‘very well, you may join me’
      ‘very good, sir, will that be all?’
    • see very
      • ‘Ok, very well! when can I expect to hear back from you?’
      • ‘Very well then, I shall be in touch with you later today or tomorrow, with a revised offer.’
  • (all) well and good

    • Used to express acceptance of a first statement before introducing a contradictory or confirming second statement:

      ‘that's all well and good, but why didn't he phone her to say so?’
      • ‘Producing a commercial product is not the principal concern, though if there is a commercial outcome that will be well and good.’
      • ‘If Inzy wins this challenge, it's well and good, otherwise Ganguly can as well be sure that the one-day series is wrapped up.’
      • ‘I do not expect the person who I have quoted here to come around to my way of thinking, though of course that would be well and good.’
      • ‘Style is all well and good for a debut, but second albums require more substance and further expansion.’
      • ‘All well and good, but this opportunity comes with a huge caveat.’
      • ‘Learning from history is well and good, but such talk illustrates the dangers of learning from the wrong history.’
      • ‘Moral high grounds, for instance, are well and good, and all else being equal of course we'd like to have them.’
      • ‘All well and good, but I really can't see why people are bending over backwards (or forwards, in our case) for him.’
      • ‘I accept that cricket must find ways of bringing in the cash to survive and if this ploy succeeds all so well and good, but I have my reservations.’
      • ‘All very well and good, but that approach hasn't helped those who trust her with their portfolios.’
  • well and truly

    • Completely:

      ‘Leith was well and truly rattled’
      • ‘Sadly, those in a position to help here have, as we all know, dropped the ball well and truly.’
      • ‘There's definitely a copy at work, but the one here was well and truly out of date.’
      • ‘We're well and truly all mixed up now and it's a case of trying to get to know everyone again.’
      • ‘Even now, when the worst is well and truly behind us, it still makes me go cold just to write those words.’
      • ‘As any gambler will tell you, when your luck is out, it's well and truly out.’
      • ‘The clash of the news titans is well and truly on, and the stakes are high for everyone involved.’
      • ‘The days of authors being separated from the marketing machine are well and truly over.’
      • ‘The game was now well and truly over as a contest although Harps never gave up the chase.’
      • ‘Spring is sprung and the tourist season is well and truly under way in the North York Moors National Park.’
      • ‘The big-spending days which followed promotion are well and truly in the past.’
  • well enough

    • To a reasonable degree:

      ‘he liked Isobel well enough, but wouldn't want to make a close friend of her’
      • ‘Sure enough they started well enough and at half-time looked likely for the win.’
      • ‘Malton began well enough but having gained a three-point lead then let the game slip away.’
      • ‘He also seems to think I should understand this well enough to provide some kind of commentary.’
      • ‘Whatever it is you pursue, try to do it just well enough to remain in the middle third of the field.’
      • ‘He was fit enough and well enough to put up a very good performance, but Barry felt he just ran flat from the home turn.’
      • ‘Sorry, this list started off well enough, but just got sort of out of control.’
      • ‘I can sing well enough, especially when there's someone around to make the music for me.’
      • ‘Her previous two albums did well enough but failed to really penetrate into the mainstream.’
      • ‘He did well enough at school to get into a good university and he studied hard and graduated with flying colours.’
      • ‘While everyone performs well enough, it is only in the closing arias that the opera comes alive.’
  • well worth

    • Certainly worth:

      ‘Salzburg is well worth a visit’
      • ‘The climb is well worth the view as the Pike looks west to Manchester city centre and east to the Pennines.’
      • ‘The nachos were a big hit at the table and for the price that we paid, the portion was well worth it.’
      • ‘Still on a nautical theme, the Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour is well worth a look.’
      • ‘The firewall requires a bit of study and time to configure but I think it's well worth the effort.’
      • ‘The hotel has a number of special offers at various times of the year that are well worth investigating.’
      • ‘Club meetings are held on the second Monday of every month and are well worth going to.’
      • ‘So when they do speak out, it is worth noting that they have a serious concern well worth listening to.’
      • ‘A short train journey to the north, Blair Atholl and Atholl Castle are well worth a visit.’
      • ‘But if you can handle the pace, the rewards are well worth it.’
      • ‘The book is well worth reading and you can make up your own minds.’

Origin

Old English wel(l), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wel and German wohl; probably also to the verb will. Vowel lengthening in Middle English gave rise to the current Scots form weel.

Pronunciation:

well

/wɛl/

Main definitions of well in English

: well1well2

well2

noun

  • 1A shaft sunk into the ground to obtain water, oil, or gas.

    • ‘New water wells and treatment facilities are in the progress of being constructed in addition to new delivery pipes being installed.’
    • ‘Results also show that 90 percent of those who participated in the study use their wells for drinking water.’
    • ‘Water companies have hundreds of different sources from rivers and reservoirs to ground water supplies and wells.’
    • ‘Today, industrial energy moves water from wells beneath the earth, from river channels and over hills.’
    • ‘On the arid plains of northern China, the depletion of shallow reservoirs has forced people to sink wells into aquifers more than 1 km below the surface.’
    • ‘The water available in villages is drawn from wells sunk in tanks and lakes.’
    • ‘Water for human consumption was traditionally obtained from wells, ponds, or rivers.’
    • ‘To ensure a reliable water supply for their garden and the house he sank two wells.’
    • ‘Water flooding involves drilling water injection wells in a reservoir and pumping water into the field to push the oil towards the oil producing well bores.’
    • ‘Even today, across many remote areas of the United States, wind-powered pumps draw water from wells to fill livestock watering troughs.’
    • ‘Different concentrations of ground water nitrate were obtained by drilling irrigation wells into two aquifers.’
    • ‘In India, more farmers now provide their own water via wells and pumps than rely on the government's irrigation system, which is based on a network of canals.’
    • ‘The water system has meant improved health among residents, who now need to spend less time carrying water from wells distant from their homes.’
    • ‘Water from the wells is piped up to ground level where exchangers heat and cool it as needed.’
    • ‘The residents said they depended on rain water or untreated water from wells and were sometimes forced to walk long distances in search of the commodity.’
    • ‘A geothermal heating system harvests local energy from the site by drawing water from forty wells extending four-hundred feet below ground level.’
    • ‘Most drinking water comes from municipal reservoirs, but people in isolated areas get their drinking water from wells.’
    • ‘Considerations are now in progress to allocate a budget to drill 401 bore water wells for consumers and farmers.’
    • ‘One of the major advantages of a rig this size is that it can drill large diameter water wells, up to 500 mm to depths of 500 metres.’
    • ‘Although present in air, helium is commercially obtained from natural gas wells where it occurs in concentrations of between one and seven percent of the natural gas.’
    borehole, spring, waterhole, bore, shaft
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic A water spring or fountain.
      • ‘By a gurgling well stood a handsome peasant woman with red arms, pouring water into the milk that she was going to carry to the city.’
      • ‘A gurgling well sprang from the foot of the altar, saving the townspeople from dying of thirst.’
    2. 1.2Wells[in place names] A place where there are mineral springs:
      ‘Tunbridge Wells’
      • ‘Tenbury Wells is a small ancient market town situated in the very north west of Worcestershire on the A456, close to the borders of Herefordshire and Shropshire.’
      • ‘The springs gave birth to the town and while Llandrindod Wells itself cannot be said to have been in existence much longer than a hundred years, there are landmarks in its development that span two or three centuries.’
      • ‘Tenbury had the ‘Wells’ added to its name in the mid 19th century to help promote the Mineral Water Wells that had been found in the town from 1840 onwards.’
    3. 1.3 A depression made to hold liquid:
      ‘put the flour on a flat surface and make a well to hold the eggs’
      • ‘Spoon the purée onto a serving dish, leaving a well in the centre.’
      • ‘A small amount is withdrawn from each tube and loaded into separate wells of a polyacrylamide gel.’
      • ‘Later on we saw other wells that were simply depressions in rock with water coming from an unknown source, green with cress, and perhaps housed in a 19th Century hut.’
      • ‘One of the challenges in this process has been filling the femtoliter wells with liquid.’
      • ‘In the final step, the investigator cuts plugs to fit the wells of an agarose electrophoresis gel.’
      • ‘Stir in the dried yeast, then make a well in the centre.’
      • ‘Make a well in the center of the batter and add the pumpkin.’
      • ‘There is no doubt that the observation of precipitation in the very small wells of the plates in question was subjective, and there is no doubt scope for differences of genuinely held opinions.’
      • ‘Form the mixture into a mound and create a well in the center.’
      • ‘The released liquids are gathered in wells specifically designed for that purpose.’
      • ‘The antibody was added to all wells of the plate.’
      • ‘Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre.’
      • ‘Make a well in the middle, add the oil, treacle and enough milk to combine and make a soft dough.’
      • ‘Mix thoroughly with a fork, make a well in the center and set aside.’
  • 2A plentiful source or supply:

    ‘she could feel a deep well of sympathy and compassion’
    • ‘The city was flush with new wealth and a bottomless well of optimism.’
    • ‘This originative source is a well from which very different kinds of poems can be drawn up.’
    • ‘It would be a shame if we were discouraging emerging scholars from reaching deeper into the bookstacks, from sending their buckets down deeper into the wells of knowledge.’
    • ‘Do they visit in empathy, or is it something deep within the deepest well of their own ego that sends them on their mission?’
    • ‘It reminded me of all I had abandoned and have since fallen into a well of depression.’
    • ‘Wlodek is a gentle man with laughing eyes, but there is a deep well of emotion when he talks.’
    • ‘Conservatives tend to see this as detached from the deep theological wells of the tradition.’
    • ‘Similarly, many monochrome paintings are at once flat planes and deep wells of color.’
    • ‘But our members have made it clear their deep well of goodwill is running dry.’
    • ‘It proves that beneath the showmanship, there is real talent and a deep well of genuine feeling.’
    • ‘At times optimism fails and I fall face first into the deep well of despair.’
    • ‘Everywhere I've been I've found a deep well of energy and idealism.’
    • ‘The Royal Navy in those years was a deep well of talent, creativity and confidence.’
    • ‘It is another job that requires individuals to plumb deep wells of patience.’
    • ‘There are deep wells of poverty in both which are a living reproach to their political representatives.’
    • ‘Do not tar them all with the same brush for there was a deep well of opinion in favour of the motion.’
    • ‘They might be great for the economy, or we could be running out public funding wells dry.’
    • ‘Of course, not every theater company has such deep wells of musical talent on hand.’
    • ‘Caught in a web of feeling and confusion, Joe is drawn into ever deeper wells of irrationality as the aftermath of the incident unfolds.’
    • ‘The split was far from amicable and plunged the normally perky star into a well of depression and self-doubt.’
    source, supply, wellspring, fount, fountainhead, reservoir, mine, fund, bank, repository, storehouse, treasury
    View synonyms
  • 3An enclosed space in the middle of a building, giving room for stairs or a lift, or to allow light or ventilation.

    • ‘White skylight wells - set above exposed rafters - bounce and diffuse sunlight into the room below, reinforcing the open, airy feeling.’
    • ‘It is pulled inside and set in place before the front center console, lighted front door step wells and rear ‘kick guards’ are installed.’
    • ‘Using tinted glazing and deep, light-diffusing wells can help to compensate for this shortcoming, though neither is really a remedy.’
    • ‘Hundreds of builders work like ants to construct walls, foundations, stairs, lift wells.’
    • ‘A video taken on April 8, 2000 shows leaking in the window wells on the north face.’
    • ‘Inspect and clean gutters, leaders, window wells and drains of all leaves and debris and make sure gutters are firmly secure to the house.’
    • ‘It took four years and over £1m to build the Midland, its six storeys arranged in a figure of eight around two wells, allowing as much natural light to the interior as possible.’
    • ‘A train of skylights with tangerine wells sprays color into an otherwise routine hallway.’
    • ‘During the night a shell had fallen into the well of the building in which she and her husband had their flat.’
    • ‘The city provided sandbags and sand at its public works yard, he said, noting most people trying to prevent water from coming in through basement window wells needed relatively few sandbags.’
    • ‘Skylights threw wells of illumination down through the still air into the hall, spotlighting the black and white tiled floor.’
    • ‘She places the pots in her home's window wells and covers them with leaves.’
    • ‘Window wells and stairwells can present problems.’
    • ‘You can apply insecticide around doors, windows, and vents, outside stairwells, window wells, along foundation, under lip of siding.’
    1. 3.1British The place in a law court where the clerks and ushers sit.
      • ‘Other copies of which are available in the well of the court for any member of the public who wishes to read it.’
      • ‘Also, only members of the bar are to be seated inside the rail and in the well of the Court.’
      • ‘To summarize, spoken language interpreters are stationed in the well of the courtroom only when there is a NES witness involved.’
  • 4US A shelf beneath the counter of a bar on which bottles of alcohol are stored within easy reach of the person serving:

    ‘you would have never heard of the label of the gin in the well in average bars’
    • ‘Because the well holds your average liquor, and is easily accessed, most drinks are made from that location of the bar.’
    • ‘The clear glass bottle features a thick bottom for an enriched, specialty look, while the long body and short neck creates an aesthetically taller appearance that also functions easily in the bartenders’ well.’
    • ‘Well drinks are poured 'out of the well', a 'speed rack' of stock liquors kept at the bartender's station.’
    1. 4.1[as modifier] Denoting or made with the relatively inexpensive brands of alcohol stored in the well of a bar.
      ‘happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays, with $4 well drinks and draft beers’
      Compare with call
      ‘three shots of well tequila’
      • ‘I think I've been back once on a Wednesday for their $1 well drink special.’
      • ‘You receive a tumbler with 2 cubes in it full of well gin, and a can of tonic.’
      • ‘Drink specials, including small pitchers of beer for $4.25 and well drinks for $3.75, also are available.’
      • ‘The free drink was a well drink or a beer, not bad.’
      • ‘Also, get draft beers and well drinks for $3.’
      • ‘My ONLY qualm is that the $5 martini's are made with well vodka.’
      • ‘Wine, beer, and well drinks are all on us.’
      • ‘To ease the week's woes, it's $2 off all draft beer and well spirits and $4 for a glass of house red or white wine.’
      • ‘I had Tanqueray and my friend was drinking well vodka.’
  • 5Physics
    A region of minimum potential:

    ‘a gravity well’
    • ‘Faced with the new electric fields introduced by the sound wave, the electrons and holes in the quantum well seek out their respective points of minimum energy in the presence of the fields.’
    • ‘Quantum wells consist of a thin sheet of crystalline semiconductor sandwiched between two sheets of another semiconductor.’
    • ‘In effect the neutrons are caught in a vertical potential well: gravity pulls down, while atoms in the surface of the mirror push up.’
    • ‘Sandwiched in the middle of the semiconductor are two layers of quantum wells in which the electrons and holes are created and confined to a 2D world.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]often well up
  • 1 (of a liquid) rise up to the surface and spill or be about to spill:

    ‘tears were beginning to well up in her eyes’
    • ‘The new cut on her hand glinted in the light, as the beads of blood welled up to the surface.’
    • ‘Then, abandoning her pride, she let the tears that had welled up, flow freely.’
    • ‘She laughed softly until tears welled in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks.’
    • ‘We're both quiet again, but I can feel angry tears welling up and starting to spill down my cheeks.’
    • ‘It provides strong evidence for the main mechanism of continental drift - that is, spreading of the sea floor as new material wells up from the mantle.’
    • ‘Blood welled from the cut and dripped onto the front of her healer's robe.’
    • ‘The oil is thought to have welled up from a small boat which sank on Monday after heavy rain caused the water level to rise.’
    • ‘His eyes welled with tears as they rushed down his cheeks like waterfall.’
    • ‘Morning loomed through the cloud of condensation that welled up out of Dan's sleeping bag, a breathing cave if ever there was one.’
    • ‘Tears welled up in Mother's eyes, and I saw for the first time, her as a person.’
    • ‘Tears welled up in his eyes, and Javan let them stream down his cheeks.’
    • ‘As he thought the name, a single tear welled up and rolled down the Ursine's brown muzzle.’
    • ‘Blood welled upon around the angry wound and spilled over the skin's jagged edges.’
    • ‘The researchers think the water welled up from beneath the planet's surface about five million years ago.’
    • ‘The pressure within the crust hadn't increased, as would be expected when molten rock wells up from below.’
    • ‘Her vision blurred slightly with a sudden flow of tears that welled up in her eyes and she blinked them away.’
    • ‘Now we left Mankind behind and raced back to a time when the earth cracked open and molten lava welled out, at the end of the distant Mesozoic Age.’
    • ‘More oil and air welled up, and it was clear from other debris that the submarine was finished.’
    • ‘It felt weird because when I bid Dad goodbye, I would usually have a sting in the bridge of my nose and tears would start welling up in my eyes.’
    • ‘She just wanted to get out of there and she could feel the tears welling up in her eyes, threatening to spill over onto her cheeks.’
    flow, stream, run, rush, gush, course, roll, cascade, flood, surge, rise, spurt, spout, squirt, jet
    ooze, seep, trickle
    burst, issue, discharge
    spill, overflow, brim over
    disembogue
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of an emotion) develop and become more intense:
      ‘all the old bitterness began to well up inside her again’
      • ‘Paul was taken aback by the fatherly protective instincts that seemed to well up from deep inside him.’
      • ‘Emotion welled up inside her, and tears slowly coursed their way down her cheeks.’
      • ‘She leaned against the wall, anger and sadness welling up inside her as she thought about what had happened.’
      • ‘Feeling irritation welling up inside of me, I jerked my arm free of her grasp and walked towards the cart to do just that.’
      • ‘A sinking feeling of despair welled up within her, threatening to swamp her completely.’
      • ‘I look around at the paper walls and feel frustration welling up inside me - I want to cry, but nothing comes, I'm numb to it all.’
      • ‘Avril held onto his hand her eyes pleading with sadness welling inside.’
      • ‘His breath came in quick, shallow gasps as anxiety and panic welled up inside him.’
      • ‘The intense feeling welled up within her and shone from her eyes like dark beacons.’
      • ‘Each time she thought of his name, a mix of pleasure and anticipation welled up inside her.’
      • ‘He nodded and you could see confidence welling up inside him.’
      • ‘One could sense the drama welling up blocks away from the auditorium at Sacramento State.’
      • ‘That might have been me, I thought, alarmed by the unsavory jealousy welling up inside.’
      • ‘A feeling of rebellion welled up inside of her and she wanted nothing more to do then slam her door and lock herself in.’
      • ‘Faith heard his door close and sighed deeply from the happiness welling up inside of her.’
      • ‘Fury welled up inside my heart and began to push out through my throat.’
      • ‘As the Birdwoman stood in front of the window admiring the dress, an urge started to well up inside her.’
      • ‘Rage welled up inside of me and all I could see was red.’
      • ‘A week passed, and Enzo couldn't contain the excitement welling up inside of him.’
      • ‘Anger was welling up inside of me as this family continued to use offensive language towards their relative.’

Origin

Old English wella, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wel and German Welle a wave.

Pronunciation:

well

/wɛl/