Meaning of “well” in the English Dictionary

"well" in British English

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welladverb

uk /wel/ us /wel/ better, best

well adverb (IN A GOOD WAY)

A1 in a good way, to a high or satisfactory standard:

The documentary presented both sides of the problem very well.
The concert was advertised well enough but ticket sales were poor.
a well-cut suit
a well-paid job
Her points were well put (= expressed in a good or intelligent way).
His point about the need to reduce waste was well taken (= it was accepted as a good criticism).
They took two hours to discuss the plans and considered it time well spent (= it had been a useful discussion).
I can't do it as well as Marie can.

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well adverb (TO A GREAT DEGREE)

A2 very much, to a great degree, or completely:

Knead the dough well, then divide it into four pieces.
He could well imagine how much his promise was going to cost him.
I can't catch the bus - there are no buses after midnight, as you well know.
He plays the piano well enough (= to a satisfactory standard).

C1 used to emphasize some prepositions:

The results are well above/below what we expected.
Keep well away from the edge of the cliff.
It cost well over £100.
Stand well clear of the doors!

B2 used to emphasize some adjectives:

The police are well aware of the situation.
The museum is well worth a visit.
Some machines look more like cheap, plastic toys - leave these well alone.

UK slang very:

The film was well good.
Watch out for those two - they're well hard (= strong and willing to use violence).

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well adverb (REASONABLY)

B2 with good reason:

She might well be the best person to ask.
I can't very well (= it would not be acceptable to) refuse their generous offer.

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well adverb (IN ADDITION)

as well (as)

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A1 in addition (to):

Invite Emily - and Scott as well.
I want to visit Andrew as well as Martin.

Grammar

welladjective [ usually after verb ]

uk /wel/ us /wel/ better, best

A1 healthy; not ill:

He hasn't been very well lately.
When she came home from school she really didn't look well.
I'm sorry you're ill - I hope you get well soon.
They sent a get well card.

More examples

  • He didn't feel very well after getting off the bike.
  • I'm very well thank you.
  • She wasn't feeling well, so I don't think she gave of her best tonight.
  • She wasn't feeling well, so she went home early.
  • I'm not well. I'd better not go out.

wellexclamation

uk /wel/ us /wel/

A1 used to introduce something you are going to say, often to show surprise, doubt, slight disagreement, or anger, or to continue a story:

Well, what shall we do now?
Well now/then, how are we going to arrange things?
"Who was that?" "Well, I can't remember her name."
"He's decided to give up his job and move to Seattle with her." "Well, well - that's what love does for you."
Well, really, that was thoughtless of him!
Well? What did you do next?
Well, after that we went camping in the mountains.
Well/Oh well, it doesn't matter - I can always buy another one.
Very well, if you insist I'll meet him next week.

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  • Well now, what are we doing about that?
  • Oh well, never mind.
  • Well, well. Who'd have thought things would turn out like this.
  • Well? How did your exam go?
  • Well really! How rude!

wellnoun [ C ]

uk /wel/ us /wel/

a deep hole in the ground from which you can get water, oil, or gas

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wellverb [ I usually + adv/prep ]

uk /wel/ us /wel/

(of liquid) to appear on the surface of something or come slowly out from somewhere:

Dirty water welled (up) out of the damaged pipe.
As she read the letter tears welled up in her eyes.
figurative Conflicting emotions welled up in his heart.

we'll

uk strong /wiːl/ weak /wil/ us strong /wiːl/ weak /wil/

short form of we will:

We'll do better next time, I'm sure.

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(Definition of “well” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"well" in American English

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welladjective

us /wel/ comparative better, superlative best

well adjective (HEALTHY)

healthy:

I don’t feel well.
I feel better now.

Idiom(s)

welladverb

us /wel/

well adverb (IN A GOOD WAY)

comparative better /ˈbet̬·ər/ , superlative best /best/ in a good way; to a high or satisfactory standard:

The car was well designed.
She manages people very well.
I can’t sing as well as Jessica (= She sings better).
His point about reducing waste is well taken (= accepted as a fair criticism).
The two hours of discussion was time well spent (= it was a useful discussion).
I want to congratulate you on a job well done.

well adverb (TO A GREAT DEGREE)

comparative better /ˈbet̬·ər/ , superlative best /best/ to a great degree; much or completely:

I know her well.
Put in two eggs and stir well.
He sent away for tickets well in advance (= very early).
I knew perfectly well what time it was.
I knew her pretty well when I lived in Iowa City.

comparative better /ˈbet̬·ər/ , superlative best /best/ Well is used with some prepositions and adverbs for emphasis:

Keep the children well away from the edge of the pool.
It costs well over $100.

comparative better /ˈbet̬·ər/ , superlative best /best/ Well is used with a few adjectives for emphasis:

The museum is well worth a visit.

well adverb (REASONABLY)

[ not gradable ] with good reason:

I couldn’t very well say no.

wellnoun [ C ]

us /wel/

well noun [ C ] (HOLE)

a deep hole in the ground from which water, oil, or gas can be obtained:

an oil well
well water

wellverb [ I ]

us /wel/

well verb [ I ] (COME TO SURFACE)

(of a liquid) to come to the surface or into view:

As she read the letter, tears welled in her eyes.
fig. He could feel the anger well up inside him.

wellexclamation

us /wel, wəl/

well exclamation (EXCLAMATION)

used to introduce something you are about to say, or to connect one statement with the next, or to show doubt or disagreement, annoyance, surprise, or understanding:

Well, what happened next?
He started yelling at me, and well, I was scared at first.
Well, what are you going to do now that you’ve lost your job?
Oh well, there’s not much we can do about it now.

we’ll

us /wil, wɪl/

contraction of we shall or we will:

We’ll be there tomorrow.

(Definition of “well” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"well" in Business English

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wellnoun [ C ]

uk /wel/ us

NATURAL RESOURCES a deep hole in the ground from which you can get water:

These two tributaries of the Yellowstone River supply water for farms and wells in two states.
It is an 8-mile round trip to fetch clean water from a well.

NATURAL RESOURCES, PRODUCTION →  oil well

(Definition of “well” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)