adjective, comparative bet·ter, superlative best.
- in addition; also; too: She insisted on directing the play and on producing it as well.
- equally: The town grew as well because of its location as because of its superb climate.
Origin of well1
Synonyms for well
Antonyms for well
In a similar manner, adjectival compounds formed with better, best, little, lesser, least, etc., are also hyphenated when placed before the noun ( a little-understood theory ), but the hyphen is dropped when the adjectival combination follows the noun ( his films are best known in England ) or is itself modified by an adverb ( a too little understood theory ).
There are exceptions to this pattern. For example, when the combining adverb ends in –ly, no hyphen is required, whether the resulting adjectival combination appears before or after the noun: a highly regarded surgeon; a surgeon who is highly regarded.
Don’t let the hyphens fool you. Punctuation can be tricky!
adverb better or best
- in addition; too
- (preceded by may or might)with equal effectyou might as well come
- just as wellpreferable or advisableit would be just as well if you paid me now
adjective (usually postpositive)
- an expression of surprise, indignation, or reproof
- an expression of anticipation in waiting for an answer or remark
Word Origin for well
- a cavity, space, or vessel used to contain a liquid
- (in combination)an inkwell
- a bulkheaded compartment built around a ship's pumps for protection and ease of access
- another word for cockpit
Word Origin for well
"hole dug for water, spring of water," Old English wielle (West Saxon), welle (Anglian), from wiellan (see well (v.)).
"in a satisfactory manner," Old English wel, common Germanic (cf. Old Saxon wela, Old Norse vel, Old Frisian wel, Dutch wel, Old High German wela, German wohl, Gothic waila "well"), from PIE *wel-, *wol- (cf. Sanskrit prati varam "at will," Old Church Slavonic vole "well," Welsh gwell "better," Latin velle "to wish, will," Old English willan "to wish;" see will (v.)). Also used in Old English as an interjection and an expression of surprise. Well-to-do "prosperous" is recorded from 1825.
"to spring, rise, gush," Old English wiellan (Anglian wællan), causative of weallan "to boil, bubble up" (class VII strong verb; past tense weoll, past participle weallen), from Proto-Germanic *wal-, *wel- "roll" (cf. Old Saxon wallan, Old Norse vella, Old Frisian walla, Old High German wallan, German wallen, Gothic wulan "to bubble, boil"), from PIE root *wel- "to turn, roll" (see volvox), on notion of "roiling or bubbling water."
Leave well enough alone
If things are going tolerably well, leave them alone; your efforts to improve the situation may make things worse.
leave well enough alone
Also, let well enough alone. Do not try to change something lest you make it worse. For example, This recipe has turned out fine in the past, so leave well enough alone. The idea behind this expression dates from ancient Greek times, specifically Aesop's fable about a fox who refused a hedgehog's offer to take out its ticks lest, by removing those that are full, other hungry ones will replace them. Put as let well alone from the early 1700s, it was first recorded as let well enough alone in 1827. Also see let sleeping dogs lie.
In addition to the idioms beginning with well
- well and good
- well off
- well out of, be
- well preserved
- alive and kicking (well)
- all's well that ends well
- all very well
- as well
- as well as
- augur well for
- damn well
- do well
- full well
- get well
- hanged for a sheep, might as well be
- leave well enough alone
- only too (well)
- sit well with
- think a lot (well) of
- to a fare-thee-well
- very well
- wear well