[ wel-bee-ing ]
/ ˈwɛlˈbi ɪŋ /
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See synonyms for: well-being / well-beings on Thesaurus.com

a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity; welfare: to influence the well-being of the nation and its people.


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Origin of well-being

First recorded in 1605–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does well-being mean?

The well-being of someone or something is its welfare or overall condition or state of health. A high level of well-being means that the overall condition is healthy and positive.

Well-being can also refer to a specific aspect of one’s health, and it is often preceded by words like mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and the like. Well-being is most often applied to people and communities but it can also be applied to things, especially organizations or institutions, such as a nation, economy, or educational system. It is sometimes spelled without the hyphen (well being) or as one word (wellbeing).

Example: I hate to call out sick so close to my deadline, but I’m trying to prioritize my well-being instead of constantly pushing myself.

Where does well-being come from?

The first records of well-being come from before the 1600s. Since its earliest use, it has referred to an ongoing condition of health or welfare. That ongoingness is indicated by the fact that being is a gerund—the continuous (-ing) form of a verb (in this case, be) that functions as a noun. The same construction is seen in the (much less commonly used) opposite of well-being: ill-being.

A state of well-being is a state of being well. Close synonyms for well-being are wellness and welfare. But while wellness is often used in the context of physical and mental health, and welfare generally refers to safety or prosperity, well-being is often used generally to refer to an overall state or an overall state of mind. When you say you’re trying to maintain your overall well-being, it means you’re doing what you can to stay healthy, safe, comfortable, and happy. Sometimes, though, well-being is discussed in terms of a more specific aspect of one’s overall state, such as one’s mental, physical, or emotional well-being.

Well-being can also be applied to systems or other entities, as in Having an accountant will help the well-being of your business or The economic well-being of the country is on the decline.

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What are some other forms related to well-being?

  • well being (alternate spelling)
  • wellbeing (alternate spelling)


What are some synonyms for well-being?

What are some words that share a root or word element with well-being?


What are some words that often get used in discussing well-being?


How is well-being used in real life?

Well-being is most commonly used in the discussion of people’s mental and physical health, but it can be applied in many different contexts.



Try using well-being!

Is well-being used correctly in the following sentence? 

Studies have shown that spending time outside can significantly improve one’s overall sense of well-being.

How to use well-being in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for well-being

/ (ˈwɛlˈbiːɪŋ) /

the condition of being contented, healthy, or successful; welfare
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012