/ wel; NAmE / adverb , adjective , exclamation , noun , verb
■ adverb ( bet·ter / ˈbetə(r); NAmE / best / best; NAmE /)
in a good, right or acceptable way :
The kids all behaved well.
The conference was very well organized.
Well done! (= expressing admiration for what sb has done)
His campaign was not going well .
These animals make very good pets if treated well (= with kindness) .
People spoke well of (= spoke with approval of) him.
She took it very well (= did not react too badly) , all things considered.
They lived well (= in comfort and spending a lot of money) and were generous with their money.
She was determined to marry well (= marry sb rich and / or with a high social position) .
thoroughly and completely :
Add the lemon juice and mix well.
The surface must be well prepared before you start to paint.
How well do you know Carla?
He's well able to take care of himself.
( BrE , informal )
I was well annoyed, I can tell you.
to a great extent or degree :
He was driving at well over the speed limit.
a well-loved tale
The castle is well worth a visit.
He liked her well enough (= to a reasonable degree) but he wasn't going to make a close friend of her.
can / could ~ easily :
She could well afford to pay for it herself.
can / could / may / might ~ probably :
You may well be right.
It may well be that the train is delayed.
can / could / may / might ~ with good reason :
I can't very well leave now.
I couldn't very well refuse to help them, could I?
'What are we doing here?' ' You may well ask (= I don't really know either) .'
- as well (as sb/sth)
- be doing well
- (you, etc.) may / might as well be hanged / hung for a sheep as (for) a lamb
- be well on the way to sth / doing sth
- be well out of sth
- be well up in sth
- do well
- do well by sb
- do well for yourself
- do well out of sb/sth
- do well to do sth
- leave / let well alone
- may / might (just) as well do sth
- well and truly
- well away
- well in (with sb)
—more at bloody (I), fucking , jolly adverb , know verb , mean verb , pretty adverb
■ adjective ( bet·ter /ˈbetə(r)/ best /best/)
[ not usually before noun ] in good health :
I don't feel very well .
Is she well enough to travel?
Get well soon! (= for example, on a card)
I'm better now, thank you.
( informal )
He's not a well man.
[ not before noun ] in a good state or position :
It seems that all is not well at home.
All's well that ends well (= used when sth has ended happily, even though you thought it might not) .
[ not before noun ] (as) ~ (to do sth) sensible; a good idea :
It would be just as well to call and say we might be late.
( formal )
It would be well to start early.
- all very well (for sb) (to do sth)
- all well and good
used to express surprise, anger or relief :
Well, well —I would never have guessed it!
Well, really! What a thing to say!
Well, thank goodness that's over!
used to show that you accept that sth cannot be changed :
Well, it can't be helped.
'We lost.' ' Oh, well . Better luck next time.'
used to agree to sth, rather unwillingly :
Well, I suppose I could fit you in at 3.45.
Oh, very well , then, if you insist.
used when continuing a conversation after a pause :
Well, as I was saying ...
used to say that sth is uncertain :
'Do you want to come?' 'Well, I'm not sure.'
used to show that you are waiting for sb to say sth :
Well? Are you going to tell us or not?
used to mark the end of a conversation :
Well, I'd better be going now.
used when you are pausing to consider your next words :
I think it happened, well, towards the end of last summer.
used when you want to correct or change sth that you have just said :
There were thousands of people there—well, hundreds, anyway.
- well I never (did)!
—more at say verb
a deep hole in the ground from which people obtain water. The sides of wells are usually covered with brick or stone and there is usually some covering or a small wall at the top of the well.
= oil well
a narrow space in a building that drops down from a high to a low level and usually contains stairs or a lift / elevator
—see also stairwell
( BrE ) the space in front of the judge in a court, where the lawyers sit
■ verb [ v ] well (up)
( of a liquid ) to rise to the surface of sth and start to flow :
Tears were welling up in her eyes.
( literary ) ( of an emotion ) to become stronger :
Hate welled up inside him as he thought of the two of them together.
all right ♦ OK ♦ fine ♦ healthy ♦ strong ♦ fit
These words all describe sb who is not ill and is in good health.
[not usually before noun] ( rather informal ) in good health:
I'm not feeling very well.
Is he well enough to travel?
Well is used especially to talk about your own health, to ask sb about their health or to make a comment on it.
[not before noun] ( rather informal ) not feeling ill; not injured:
Are you feeling all right?
[not before noun] ( informal ) not feeling ill; not injured:
She says she's OK now, and will be back at work tomorrow.
all right or ok?
These words are slightly less positive than the other words in this group. They are both used in spoken English to talk about not actually being ill or injured, rather than being positively in good health. Both are rather informal but OK is slightly more informal than all right .
[not before noun] (not used in negative statements) ( rather informal ) completely well:
'How are you?' 'Fine, thanks.'
Fine is used especially to talk about your health, especially when sb asks you how you are. It is also used to talk about sb's health when you are talking to sb else. Unlike well it is not often used to ask sb about their health or make a comment on it: Are you keeping fine?
in good health and not likely to become ill:
Keep healthy by exercising regularly.
in good health and not suffering from an illness:
After a few weeks she was feeling stronger.
Strong is often used to talk about becoming healthy again after an illness.
( especially BrE ) in good physical health, especially because you take regular physical exercise:
I go swimming every day in order to keep fit.
PATTERNS AND COLLOCATIONS :
all right/OK/fit for sth
all right/OK/fit to do sth
to be / seem / look / feel well / all right/OK/fine / healthy / strong / fit
to keep (sb) well / healthy / strong / fit
a healthy / fit man / woman
perfectly / completely well / all right/OK/fine / healthy / strong / fit
very / extremely / quite / fairly well / healthy / strong / fit
physically well / fine / healthy / strong / fit
fit and well
Compound adjectives beginning with well are generally written with no hyphen when they are used alone after a verb, but with a hyphen when they come before a noun:
She is well dressed.
a well-dressed woman.
The forms without hyphens are given in the entries in the dictionary, but forms with hyphens can be seen in some examples.
The comparative and superlative forms of these are usually formed with better and best :
the best-dressed person in the room.
adverb and adjective exclamation Old English wel(l) , of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wel and German wohl ; probably also to the modal verb will .
noun and verb Old English wella , of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wel and German Welle a wave.