Meaning of WELL in English


I. ˈwel noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English welle, from Old English (northern & Midland dialect) welle; akin to Old High German wella wave, Old Norse vella boiling heat, Old English weallan to bubble, boil — more at well III


a. : an issue of water from the earth : a spring rising to the surface of the earth and forming a pool or rivulet : a pool fed by a spring

the well flows in a pure and abundant stream from the granite rock — J.M.Jephson & L.A.Reeve

b. : a spring of water traditionally held to be of miraculous origin or to have supernatural healing or magical powers and often associated with a particular saint

St. Gulval's Well … was famous for its prophetic properties — W.C.Meller


(1) : mineral spring

(2) wells plural : a place where mineral springs are located and where invalids often resort : watering place 3, spa — used chiefly in place names

Tunbridge Wells

d. chiefly Scotland : a fountain fed by a spring


(1) : something resembling a spring (as in flowing or being used for drinking)

start the wells of plenty bubbling … with British gold — J.P.Fitzpatrick

(2) : an origin from which something springs or arises : a source of supply : fountain , wellspring

the wells of his loquacity were dried up — C.S.Forester

the native well of English in our young — J.M.Barzun

(3) : a dangerous eddy : whirlpool — used especially of eddies near the northern coast of Scotland

2. : a pit or hole sunk (as by digging, boring, or drilling) into the earth to such a depth as to reach a supply of water, generally having a cylindrical form, and often walled with stone, bricks, or tubbing to prevent the earth from caving in

3. : a part of a boat or other craft resembling a well: as

a. : a vertical enclosure in the middle of a ship's hold that reaches from the bottom to the lower deck and that contains and is designed to protect from damage and facilitate the inspection of the pumps — called also pump well

b. : a compartment in the hold of a fishing boat that is tight at the sides but has holes in the bottom to let in water to keep fish alive


(1) : a vertical passage into which a propeller may be drawn up or from which a periscope may be raised

(2) : a hollow compartment recessed in an airplane wing or fuselage into which a unit (as a wing flap or landing gear wheel) retracts

d. : an enclosure in a ship's bottom into which water drains and is then pumped out ; especially : the space between two tanks or sections of the double bottom or between either and a bulkhead

e. : a vertical passage in the bow of some old-style monitors in which the anchor is stowed

f. : the part of the main deck between the raised forecastle and the poop of a well-decked ship

4. : a shaft or pit dug or bored in the earth: as

a. : one used for the storage of ice

b. : a shaft or excavation in the earth made in military mining from which run branches or galleries

c. : a shaft or hole sunk to obtain oil, brine, or gas

an oil well

salt wells

d. : relief well


(1) : a pit or hole in the ground reaching to hardpan or bedrock

(2) : a hollow cylinder of reinforced concrete, steel, timber, or masonry built in such a hole as a support for a bridge or building

f. : a tile stack for drainage

5. : a part of a building or similar structure resembling a well: as

a. : an open space extending vertically through floors of a structure (as a stairwell or elevator shaft)

a spiral stairway with an open well extending through three stories — American Guide Series: Maryland

b. : the space in an English law court set off immediately in front of the judge's bench and usually occupied by solicitors

c. : an open shaft formed by surrounding walls and extending vertically through the floors of a structure to provide light and air to interior areas

d. : the place in a lecture hall, legislative chamber, or similar large assembly room where the speaker is located and around which the seats rise in tiers or on a slope : the area between the rostrum or stage and the first row of seats : pit

6. : a heraldic bearing representing the part of the wall of a well aboveground

7. : a vessel or space having a construction or shape that suggests a well for water: as

a. : a space or receptacle resembling a box located in the body of a vehicle and used for luggage

b. : a deep drawer or hollow interior area used as a receptacle in a piece of furniture (as a desk or bureau)

pine cupboard … having hinged cover over a well — Parke-Bernet Galleries Cat.

a well with a compartmented interior

c. : the lower part of a furnace into which the molten metal runs

d. : a small receptacle in a larger vessel or unit

the well in a jar of paste

the well of a fountain pen

this bent pipe had a bowl which retained the objectionable moisture in its well — Irish Digest

lubricating oil wells located in a planer bed

— see inkwell


(1) : an indentation or cavity in a surface

tree wells

cellar window wells

(2) : one of the tiny depressed spots incised or etched in a gravure plate and holding the ink when the surface of the plate is wiped clean before a sheet is printed

(3) : the dark center of a diamond cut too thick


a. : something resembling a well in being damp, cool, deep, or dark

a great well of a cupboard

make your room a cool well of dusk — Claudia Cassidy

b. : something resembling a well in constituting a deep vertical hole

the well in a glacier

poked wells in the biscuit to hold the molasses — Eudora Welty

a stove well

c. : something held to resemble a well in constituting a deep reservoir from which one may draw

a great well of friendship and respect for … the United States — R.M.Nixon

the inner well of strength into which the peasant woman … must repeatedly dip — Lucy Crockett


a. : a pronounced minimum of a variable in physics

energy well

potential well

b. : a region in which such minimum occurs

10. : stilling basin

11. : fountain I 4

12. : a small leather cup fixed to or suspended from an archer's belt to hold the tips of arrows thrust thereunder

II. verb, adjective

Etymology: Middle English welle, from welle, n.

1. : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a well

utilized the well principle in construction

a well cover

well rope

well shape

2. : used in connection with a well

a well sweep

well drill

3. : designed so as to have a part that is held to resemble a well

well railroad cars

the well type of saddle

well slides

4. : having a wellhole

a well staircase

well stairs

III. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English wellen, from Old English (northern & Midland dialect) wellan to cause to well; akin to Middle High German wellen to cause to well, Old Norse vella; causative from the root of Old English weallan to bubble, boil, Old High German wallan, Old Norse vella to well over, boil, Latin volvere to roll — more at voluble

intransitive verb

1. : to rise to the surface in a copious stream and then usually flow forth

a clear small stream … welled from a rock hard by — G.P.R.James

tears welled up in her eyes

a spring … welled out of the rock into a stone basin — Willa Cather

2. : to rise to the surface like a flood of liquid : spring up and often pour forth

anger welled in his stomach like bile — Hugh MacLennan

— often used with up

great pity welled up from his generous heart — Rafael Sabatini

an immense yearning for security welled up through the land — Oscar Handlin

transitive verb

: to pour forth from the depths

some classic fountain … welled its pure waters in a sacred shade — Washington Irving

IV. adverb

( bet·ter ˈbed.ə(r), -etə- ; best ˈbest)

Etymology: Middle English wel, from Old English; akin to Old High German wela, wola well, Old Norse vel, Gothic waila well, Old English wyllan to wish — more at will


a. : in a good or proper manner : in accordance with a high standard of morality : in a way that is morally good : justly , rightly

it is … doing well that entitles us to heaven — William Burkitt

b. : satisfactorily with respect to conduct or action

worked well under difficult conditions

the inability … of these children to do well in advanced academic areas — J.B.Conant


a. : in a manner that constitutes good treatment or confers a benefit : considerately , generously , kindly

wished them well

spoke well of your idea

b. : in a kindly or friendly manner : with friendly words : with favor or welcome

was well received at court

her first novel was well received by the critics


a. : with skill or aptitude : in a skillful or expert manner : excellently , expertly

sing well

paints well

a wonderful story, well written and sensitive — Peter Blake

b. : satisfactorily

plan has worked well

c. : with good appearance or effect : elegantly

carried himself well

4. : with careful or close attention : attentively

watch well what I do

5. : to a high point or degree

they got on well together

well deserved the honor

she did not seem so well pleased

the legendary lore which I love so well — Sir Walter Scott

you will be well rewarded by a visit — Dana Burnet

— often used in combination

a well -equipped kitchen

well -populated areas

6. : to the full degree or extent : fully , quite

well aware of the difficulties

well worth the price

well out of sight

well past the appropriate age

arrived before dinner had well begun

well able to take care of himself


a. : in a way appropriate to the facts or circumstances : fittingly , properly , rightly

as the author well says

a large box will answer the need almost equally well

b. : in a prudent manner : sensibly — used with do

reasonable people … will do well to demand better evidence — M.R.Cohen

do well to examine the grounds for this adverse opinion — I.A.Richards

8. : in accordance with the occasion or circumstances : as a natural result or consequence : with propriety or good reason : naturally , properly

I cannot well refuse

this decision may well be questioned

took pride, as well she might, in her hair — Samuel Richardson

old residents … speak of it with considerable affection, as well they might — John De Meyer


a. : in such manner as is desirable or pleasing : as one could wish : without harm or accident : favorably , fortunately , happily , prosperously , successfully

everything went well that morning

piano and violin do not mix too well even in chamber music — P.H.Lang

b. : with success from a material point of view : advantageously , properly

he married well

he hadn't made a fortune … but he'd done fairly well — Frank Sargeson


a. : without trouble or difficulty : easily , readily

nor were the refugees such as a country can well spare — T.B.Macaulay

appearing to know more of that abode of evil than she well could — H.S.Scott

no transcript can well be found which does not differ from its prototype in some small points — F.H.A.Scrivener

b. : in all likelihood : indeed

a basic conflict that may well last for the balance of this century — J.B.Conant

maintenance of the high level of expenditures … might well have a disastrous effect — D.W.Mitchell

11. : in a state of prosperity, plenty, or comfort : in a prosperous or affluent manner

he lives well

12. : in a thorough manner : in an extent approaching completeness

after being well dried with a sponge


a. : without doubt, uncertainty, or question : clearly , definitely

well remembered the stirring appeal

well knew the penalty

b. : closely , familiarly , intimately

must know their own country well — London Calling

c. : in exact outlines : clearly , definitely

the tree stood out well against the horizon

remembered well the incident he mentioned

14. : with spirit and courage : bravely , gallantly

fought well against overwhelming odds

15. : with equanimity or good nature : without resentment

reported that he took the disappointment well

16. : to a considerable extent : more than a little : considerably , far

grows in hot, moist regions well into the temperate zone — G.S.Brady

a population of well over a million people — L.D.Stamp

well north of the island — George Bradshaw

17. : enough , sufficiently — used in giving nautical commands (as concerning hoisting or lowering or bracing yards)

- as well

- as well as

V. “, dial ˈwal interjection

Etymology: Middle English wel, from Old English, from wel, adverb

1. — used to express satisfaction with what has been said or done


a. — used to express assent or resignation

b. — used to express surprise and expostulation and often reduplicated

3. — used to indicate resumption of a thread of discourse or to introduce a remark

VI. ˈwel adjective

Etymology: Middle English wel, from wel, adverb


a. : being in good standing or estimation : being on good terms : being in favor

of great importance to us … to be well with the French government — H.J.Temple

b. archaic : being on terms of intimacy or familiarity

all our set were well with some fine woman or other — B.H.Malkin

c. : pleased or satisfied with oneself

being extremely well with himself — Agnes Bennett

2. : being a cause for satisfaction or approval : satisfactory , pleasing

saw … that all was not well with him — Washington Irving

all's well that ends well


a. : being in a state of affluence or prosperity : well-off

he must be very well in the world — B.H.Malkin

— see well-to-do

b. : being in satisfactory condition or circumstances

he will not change while he is as well where he is

4. : being in accordance with advantage : deserving to be recommended : advisable , desirable

it is not well to anger him

it might be well for you to review the four basic steps — W.J.Reilly

— sometimes used with as

if you stay … it is as well to bring plenty of provisions — G.W.Murray


a. : being in health : sound in body and mind : free of or recovered from sickness, infirmity, disease, or ailment : healthy

a well man

he looks well


(1) : cured

the rheumatism … is now near quite well — Jonathan Swift

(2) : being in a good or sound condition

his health … is still pretty well — Oliver Goldsmith

6. : pleasing or satisfactory in appearance

looked very well when he was dressed — Ellery Queen

the polished floor looks well — Herbert Spencer

7. archaic : good in quality or character

it is really very well for a novel — Jane Austen

8. : being a cause for thankfulness : lucky and gratifying : fortunate

it is well that this has happened

Synonyms: see healthy

- all very well

- very well

- well and good

VII. ˈwel noun

( plural well )

: a well person : one sound in health — usually used collectively

prevent the well from becoming infected

VIII. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English wel, from wel, adverb, well

obsolete : well-being

restore you to your wonted well — Edmund Spenser

IX. noun

( -s )

Etymology: well (IV)

chiefly Britain : well enough

when best to operate and when to leave well alone — Harvey Graham

content to let well alone and to maintain … a defensive policy — C.E.Robinson

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.