View synonyms for well



[ wel ]


  1. in a good or satisfactory manner:

    Business is going well.

  2. thoroughly, carefully, or soundly:

    to shake well before using; listen well.

  3. in a moral or proper manner:

    to behave well.

    Synonyms: properly

    Antonyms: badly, poorly

  4. commendably, meritoriously, or excellently:

    a difficult task well done.

    Synonyms: efficiently, accurately

  5. with propriety, justice, or reason:

    I could not well refuse.

  6. adequately or sufficiently:

    Think well before you act.

    Synonyms: adequately

  7. to a considerable extent or degree (often used in combination):

    a sum well over the amount agreed upon;

    a well-developed theme.

    Synonyms: quite, rather

  8. with great or intimate knowledge:

    to know a person well.

  9. certainly; without doubt:

    I anger easily, as you well know.

  10. with good nature; without rancor:

    He took the joke well.


superlative: bestcomparative: better
  1. in good health; sound in body and mind:

    Are you well? He is not a well man.

    Synonyms: hearty, hale, healthy

    Antonyms: sick, ill

  2. satisfactory, pleasing, or good:

    All is well with us.

    Synonyms: fine

  3. proper, fitting, or gratifying:

    It is well that you didn't go.

    Synonyms: appropriate, befitting, suitable

  4. in a satisfactory position; well-off:

    I am very well as I am.

    Synonyms: fortunate, happy


  1. (used to express surprise, reproof, etc.):

    Well! There's no need to shout.

  2. (used to introduce a sentence, resume a conversation, etc.):

    Well, who would have thought he could do it?


  1. well-being; good fortune; success:

    to wish well to someone.



[ wel ]


  1. a hole drilled or bored into the earth to obtain water, petroleum, natural gas, brine, or sulfur.
  2. a spring or natural source of water.
  3. an apparent reservoir or a source of human feelings, emotions, energy, etc.:

    He was a well of gentleness and courtesy.

    Synonyms: font, mine, fund, store

  4. a container, receptacle, or reservoir for a liquid:

    the well of ink in a fountain pen.

  5. any sunken or deep, enclosed space, as a shaft for air or light, stairs, or an elevator, extending vertically through the floors of a building.
  6. Nautical.
    1. a part of a weather deck between two superstructures, extending from one side of a vessel to the other.
    2. a compartment or enclosure around a ship's pumps to make them easily accessible and protect them from being damaged by the cargo.
  7. a hollow compartment, recessed area, or depression for holding a specific item or items, as fish in the bottom of a boat or the retracted wheels of an airplane in flight.
  8. any shaft dug or bored into the earth, as for storage space or a mine.

verb (used without object)

  1. to rise, spring, or gush, as water, from the earth or some other source (often followed by up, out, or forth ):

    Tears welled up in my eyes.

verb (used with object)

  1. to send welling up or forth:

    a fountain welling its pure water.


  1. like, of, resembling, from, or used in connection with a well.



[ weel; unstressed wil ]

  1. contraction of we will.



/ wɛl /


  1. a hole or shaft that is excavated, drilled, bored, or cut into the earth so as to tap a supply of water, oil, gas, etc
  2. a natural pool where ground water comes to the surface
    1. a cavity, space, or vessel used to contain a liquid
    2. ( in combination )

      an inkwell

  3. an open shaft through the floors of a building, such as one used for a staircase
  4. a deep enclosed space in a building or between buildings that is open to the sky to permit light and air to enter
    1. a bulkheaded compartment built around a ship's pumps for protection and ease of access
    2. another word for cockpit
  5. a perforated tank in the hold of a fishing boat for keeping caught fish alive
  6. (in England) the open space in the centre of a law court
  7. a source, esp one that provides a continuous supply

    he is a well of knowledge


  1. to flow or cause to flow upwards or outwards

    tears welled from her eyes



/ wiːl /

contraction of

  1. we will or we shall



/ wɛl /


  1. often used in combination in a satisfactory manner

    the party went very well

  2. often used in combination in a good, skilful, or pleasing manner

    she plays the violin well

  3. in a correct or careful manner

    listen well to my words

  4. in a comfortable or prosperous manner

    to live well

  5. usually used with auxiliaries suitably; fittingly

    you can't very well say that

  6. intimately

    I knew him well

  7. in a kind or favourable manner

    she speaks well of you

  8. to a great or considerable extent; fully

    to be well informed

  9. by a considerable margin

    let me know well in advance

  10. preceded bycould, might, or may indeed

    you may well have to do it yourself

  11. informal.

    well safe

  12. all very well
    all very well used ironically to express discontent, dissent, etc
  13. as well
    as well
    1. in addition; too
    2. preceded bymay or might with equal effect

      you might as well come

    3. just as well preferable or advisable

      it would be just as well if you paid me now

  14. as well as
    as well as in addition to
  15. just leave well alone
    just leave well alonejust leave well enough alone to refrain from interfering with something that is satisfactory
  16. well and good
    well and good used to indicate calm acceptance, as of a decision

    if you accept my offer, well and good

  17. well up in
    well up in well acquainted with (a particular subject); knowledgeable about


  1. when prenominal, usually used with a negative in good health

    he's not a well man

    I'm very well, thank you

  2. satisfactory, agreeable, or pleasing
  3. prudent; advisable

    it would be well to make no comment

  4. prosperous or comfortable
  5. fortunate or happy

    it is well that you agreed to go


    1. an expression of surprise, indignation, or reproof
    2. an expression of anticipation in waiting for an answer or remark

sentence connector

  1. an expression used to preface a remark, gain time, etc

    well, I don't think I will come


/ wĕl /

  1. A deep hole or shaft sunk into the Earth to tap a liquid or gaseous substance such as water, oil, gas, or brine. If the substance is not under sufficient pressure to flow freely from the well, it must be pumped or raised mechanically to the surface. Water or pressurized gas is sometimes pumped into a nonproducing oil well to push petroleum resources out of underground reservoirs.
  2. See also artesian well

Discover More

Usage Note

See good.

Discover More

Grammar Note

Sometimes an adverb like well is so often placed in front of and combined with a certain past participle in order to modify it that the resulting adjectival combination achieves the status of a common word and is listed in dictionaries. In you will find, for example, entries for well-advised and well-mannered; for ill-advised, ill-bred, and ill-conceived; and for half-baked and half-cocked. Some of these terms are given full definitions, while others are considered such obvious combinations that you can figure out for yourself what they must mean. It is important to note, however, that compound adjectives like these are hyphenated for use before the noun they modify together. Thus we say that someone is “a well-loved professor,” but there would be no hyphen between well and loved in a sentence like “My English professor is well loved and deserves the award.” 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!

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of well1

First recorded before 900; Middle English adverb wel, wel(l)e, wil, Old English adjective and adverb wel(l); cognate with Dutch wel, Old High German wela, wola, German wohl, Old Norse vel, Gothic waila; akin to Old English wyllan “to wish,” Latin velle “to wish”; will 1( def )

Origin of well2

First recorded before 900; Middle English noun wel(le), Old English wylle, wella, welle; cognate with German Welle “wave”; Middle English wellen, wel(le), Old English wellan, willan, wyllan; cognate with Dutch wellen, Old Norse vella; both noun and verb ultimately akin to weallan “to boil, bubble up”

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of well1

Old English wella; related to Old High German wella (German Welle wave), Old Norse vella boiling heat

Origin of well2

Old English wel; related to Old High German wala, wola (German wohl ), Old Norse val, Gothic waila

Discover More

Idioms and Phrases

  1. as well as, as much or as truly as; equally as:

    Joan is witty as well as intelligent.

  2. as well,
    1. in addition; also; too:

      She insisted on directing the play and on producing it as well.

    2. equally:

      The town grew as well because of its location as because of its superb climate.

  3. leave well enough alone, avoid changing something that is satisfactory.

More idioms and phrases containing well

  • 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

Discover More

Example Sentences

The best comparison here for an American audience is, well, Internet stuff.

Then add in all bored people, as well as people whose job it is to report on celebrities.

The well, ghost or no ghost, is certainly a piece of history with a bold presence.

In front of this strange structure are two blank-faced, well-dressed models showing off the latest in European minimalism.

It is the obligation of citizens and journalists as well as governments.

Mrs. Wurzel was quite right; they had been supplied, regardless of cost, from Messrs. Rochet and Stole's well-known establishment.

The big room at King's Warren Parsonage was already fairly well filled.

The country is well inhabited, for it contains fifty-one cities, near a hundred walled towns, and a great number of villages.

Before he could finish the sentence the Hole-keeper said snappishly, "Well, drop out again—quick!"

Old Mrs. Wurzel and the buxom but not too well-favoured heiress of the house of Grains were at the head of the table.


Word of the Day


[ak-suh-lot-l ]

Meaning and examples

Start each day with the Word of the Day in your inbox!

By clicking "Sign Up", you are accepting Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policies.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.