adv., adj., & int.
—adv. (better, best)
1 in a satisfactory way (you have worked well).
2 in the right way (well said; you did well to tell me).
3 with some talent or distinction (plays the piano well).
4 in a kind way (treated me well).
5 thoroughly, carefully (polish it well).
6 with heartiness or approval; favourably (speak well of; the book was well reviewed).
7 probably, reasonably, advisably (you may well be right; you may well ask; we might well take the risk).
8 to a considerable extent (is well over forty).
9 successfully, fortunately (it turned out well).
10 luckily, opportunely (well met!).
11 with a fortunate outcome; without disaster (were well rid of them).
12 profitably (did well for themselves).
13 comfortably, abundantly, liberally (we live well here; the job pays well).
—adj. (better, best)
1 (usu. predic.) in good health (are you well?; was not a well person).
2 (predic.) a in a satisfactory state or position (all is well). b advisable (it would be well to enquire).
—int. expressing surprise, resignation, insistence, etc., or resumption or continuation of talk, used esp. after a pause in speaking (well I never!; well, I suppose so; well, who was it?).
Phrases and idioms:
1 in addition; to an equal extent.
2 (also just as well) with equal reason; with no loss of advantage or need for regret (may as well give up; it would be just as well to stop now). as well as in addition to. leave (or let) well alone avoid needless change or disturbance. well-acquainted (usu. foll. by with) familiar. well-adjusted 1 in a good state of adjustment.
2 Psychol. mentally and emotionally stable. well-advised (usu. foll. by to + infin.) (of a person) prudent (would be well-advised to wait). well-affected (often foll. by to, towards) favourably disposed. well and good expressing dispassionate acceptance of a decision etc. well and truly decisively, completely. well-appointed having all the necessary equipment. well aware certainly aware (well aware of the danger).
1 having made considerable progress.
2 colloq. fast asleep or drunk.
1 sane, sensible.
2 equally matched. well-behaved see BEHAVE. well-being a state of being well, healthy, contented, etc. well-beloved adj. dearly loved.
—n. (pl. same) a dearly loved person. well-born of noble family. well-bred having or showing good breeding or manners. well-built
1 of good construction.
2 (of a person) big and strong and well-proportioned. well-chosen (of words etc.) carefully selected for effect. well-conditioned in good physical or moral condition. well-conducted (of a meeting etc.) properly organized and controlled. well-connected see CONNECTED. well-covered colloq. plump, corpulent. well-defined clearly indicated or determined. well-deserved rightfully merited or earned. well-disposed (often foll. by towards) having a good disposition or friendly feeling (for).
1 (of meat etc.) thoroughly cooked.
2 (of a task etc.) performed well (also as int.). well-dressed fashionably smart. well-earned fully deserved.
1 well provided with talent etc.
2 colloq. sexually potent or attractive. well-favoured good-looking. well-fed having or having had plenty to eat. well-found = well-appointed. well-founded (of suspicions etc.) based on good evidence; having a foundation in fact or reason. well-groomed (of a person) with carefully tended hair, clothes, etc.
1 = well-founded.
2 having a good training in or knowledge of the groundwork of a subject. well-heeled colloq. wealthy. well-hung colloq. (of a man) having large genitals. well-informed having much knowledge or information about a subject. well-intentioned having or showing good intentions. well-judged opportunely, skilfully, or discreetly done. well-kept kept in good order or condition. well-knit (esp. of a person) compact; not loose-jointed or sprawling. well-known 1 known to many.
2 known thoroughly.
1 strongly or skilfully manufactured.
2 (of a person or animal) having a good build. well-mannered having good manners. well-marked distinct; easy to detect. well-matched see MATCH(1). well-meaning (or -meant) well-intentioned (but ineffective or unwise).
1 having plenty of money.
2 in a fortunate situation or circumstances.
2 (of a compliment etc.) easily expressed through habitual use. well-ordered arranged in an orderly manner.
1 (of a job) that pays well.
2 (of a person) amply rewarded for a job. well-pleased highly gratified or satisfied. well-preserved see PRESERVE. well-read knowledgeable through much reading. well-received welcomed; favourably received. well-rounded 1 complete and symmetrical.
2 (of a phrase etc.) complete and well expressed.
3 (of a person) having or showing a fully developed personality, ability, etc. well-spent (esp. of money or time) used profitably. well-spoken articulate or refined in speech. well-thought-of having a good reputation; esteemed, respected. well-thought-out carefully devised. well-thumbed bearing marks of frequent handling. well-timed opportune, timely. well-to-do prosperous. well-tried often tested with good results. well-trodden much frequented.
1 (of a compliment, phrase, or verse) elegantly expressed.
2 (of a leg, ankle, etc.) elegantly shaped or displayed. well-upholstered see UPHOLSTER. well-wisher a person who wishes one well. well-woman a woman who has undergone satisfactory gynaecological tests (often attrib.: well-woman clinic).
1 much worn by use.
2 (of a phrase etc.) trite, hackneyed. well worth certainly worth (well worth a visit; well worth visiting).
A hyphen is normally used in combinations of well- when used attributively, but not when used predicatively, e.g. a well-made coat but the coat is well made.
Etymology: OE wel, well prob. f. the same stem as WILL(1)
n. & v.
1 a shaft sunk into the ground to obtain water, oil, etc.
2 an enclosed space like a well-shaft, e.g. in the middle of a building for stairs or a lift, or for light or ventilation.
3 (foll. by of) a source, esp. a copious one (a well of information).
4 a a mineral spring. b (in pl.) a spa.
5 = ink-well.
6 archaic a water-spring or fountain.
7 Brit. a railed space for solicitors etc. in a lawcourt.
8 a depression for gravy etc. in a dish or tray, or for a mat in the floor.
9 Physics a region of minimum potential etc.
—v.intr. (foll. by out, up) spring as from a fountain; flow copiously.
Phrases and idioms:
well-head (or -spring) a source.
Etymology: OE wella (= OHG wella wave, ON vella boiling heat), wellan boil, melt f. Gmc
Useful english dictionary. 2012.