well 2 (wĕl)
adv. bet·ter (bĕtər), best (bĕst)
1. In a good or proper manner: behaved well.
2. Skillfully or proficiently: dances well.
3. Satisfactorily or sufficiently: slept well.
4. Successfully or effectively: gets along well with people.
5. In a comfortable or affluent manner: lived well.
6. In a manner affording benefit or gain; advantageously: married well.
7. With reason or propriety; reasonably: can't very well say no.
8. In all likelihood; indeed: You may well need your umbrella.
9. In a prudent or sensible manner: You would do well to say nothing more.
10. In a close or familiar manner: knew them well.
11. In a favorable or approving manner: spoke well of them.
12. Thoroughly; completely: well cooked; cooked well.
13. Perfectly; clearly: I well understand your intentions.
14. To a suitable or appropriate degree: This product will answer your needs equally well.
15. To a considerable extent or degree: well over the estimate.
16. With care or attention: listened well.
17. Entirely; fully: well worth seeing.
adj. better, best
1. In a satisfactory condition; right or proper: All is well.
a. Not ailing, infirm, or diseased; healthy. See Synonyms at healthy.
b. Cured or healed, as a wound.
c. Of or characterized by the maintenance of good health practices. Often used in combination: a well-baby clinic; a well-child visit to the doctor.
a. Advisable; prudent: It would be well not to ask.
b. Fortunate; good: It is well that you stayed.
1. Used to introduce a remark, resume a narrative, or fill a pause during conversation.
2. Used to express surprise.
1. In addition; also: mentioned other matters as well.
2. With equal effect: I might as well go.
in well with Informal
In a position to influence or be favored by: He's in well with management.
[Middle English wel, from Old English; see wel-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: English speakers have used well both as an adjective and as an adverb since Old English times. When applied to people, the adjective well usually refers to a state of health. Like similar adjectives, such as ill and faint, well in this use is normally restricted to the predicate, as in He hasn't been well lately. Well does see occasional use before a noun, as in Benjamin Franklin's "Poor Dick eats like a well man, and drinks like a sick." It also appears in compound adjectives like well-baby and well-child, which are widely used by health-care providers. Good, on the other hand, has a much wider range of senses, including "attractive," as in He looks good, and "competent," as in She's pretty good for a beginner, as well as "healthy." See Usage Note at good.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.