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well 1

1. A deep hole or shaft sunk into the earth to obtain water, oil, gas, or brine.
2. A container or reservoir for a liquid, such as ink.
a. A place where water issues from the earth; a spring or fountain.
b. A mineral spring.
c. wells A watering place; a spa.
4. An abundant source: a well of information.
5. An open space extending vertically through the floors of a building, as for stairs or ventilation.
6. Nautical
a. An enclosure in a ship's hold for the pumps.
b. A compartment or recessed area in a ship, used for stowage: an anchor well.
c. A part of a ship's weather deck enclosed between two watertight bulkheads.
7. A cistern with a perforated bottom in the hold of a fishing vessel for keeping fish alive.
8. An enclosed space for receiving and holding something, such as the wheels of an airplane when retracted.
9. Chiefly British The central space in a law court, directly in front of the judge's bench, where the counsel or solicitor sits.
v. welled, well·ing, wells
1. To rise to the surface, ready to flow: Tears welled in my eyes.
2. To rise or surge from an inner source: Anger welled up in me.
To pour forth.

[Middle English welle, from Old English; see wel- in Indo-European roots.]

well 2

adv. bet·ter (bĕt′ər), 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.
as well
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- in 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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. an instance of surging (emotion)
2. an instance of overflowing (water)
3. an instance of boiling (liquid)
4. an instance of swelling (ocean)
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in classic literature ?
His name was Joe Welling, and his fa- ther had been a man of some dignity in the commu- nity, a lawyer, and a member of the state legislature at Columbus.
Into the drug store came Joe Welling, brushing the screen door violently aside.
Not a fish can leap or an insect fall on the pond but it is thus reported in circling dimples, in lines of beauty, as it were the constant welling up of its fountain, the gentle pulsing of its life, the heaving of its breast.