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.

More examples

  • I think she coped very well under the circumstances.
  • Your painting has come out really well.
  • The tyres on my car don't cope very well on wet roads.
  • We're getting on quite well with the decorating.
  • My golf was terrible today - I just didn't strike the ball well.

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).

More examples

  • She's well aware of her strengths and weaknesses as an artist.
  • The scheme was well thought out.
  • The instructions on the fireworks said "Light the blue touchpaper, and stand well clear."
  • Tickets are selling well for the group's upcoming concert tour.
  • She managed to complete her last film well within budget.

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.

More examples

  • This might well be our last chance to see each other before Christmas.
  • You might well wonder what happened to all the food we prepared.
  • It's just as well you brought an umbrella. It's going to rain.
  • You can't very well take it back to the shop now that you've worn it.
  • You'd be as well to confirm the bookings before you arrive.

well adverb (IN ADDITION)

as well (as)

More examples

  • He went down in my estimation when he started trying to be a singer as well as an actor.
  • The museum has many works by Picasso as well as other modern painters.
  • He rang James, who was a good friend as well as the family doctor.
  • As well as writing the script, he directed the film.
  • It's not all my fault, Simon was there as well.

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

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.

More examples

  • 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

See also

Examples

  • By this time all the wells had run dry.
  • Sinking more wells is the best way of supplying the population with clean drinking water.
  • Flames spouted out from the oil wells.
  • The well ran dry.
  • The cottage has a well in the front garden.

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.

More examples

  • We'll be there by midday.
  • We'll always support him.
  • I think we'll have a break now.
  • We'll never finish this job!
  • I wonder if we'll see him again.

(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)