American English

Definition of well adverb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , best
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  1. 1in a good, right, or acceptable way The kids all behaved well. The conference was very well organized. His campaign was not going well. These animals make very good pets if treated well (= with kindness). People spoke well of (= spoke with approval of) him. She took it very well (= did not react too badly), all things considered. They lived well (= in comfort and spending a lot of money) and were generous with their money. Well done! (= expressing admiration for what someone has done) She was determined to marry well (= marry someone rich and/or with a high social position).
  2. 2thoroughly and completely Add the lemon juice and mix well. The surface must be well prepared before you start to paint. How well do you know Carla? He's well able to take care of himself.
  3. 3to a great extent or degree He was driving at well over the speed limit. a well-loved tale The castle is well worth a visit. He liked her well enough (= to a reasonable degree) but he wasn't going to make a close friend of her.
  4. 4can/could well easily She could well afford to pay for it herself.
  5. 5can/could/may/might well probably You may well be right. It may well be that the train is delayed.
  6. 6can/could/may/might well with good reason Ican't very well leave now. Icouldn't very well refuse to help them, could I? “What are we doing here?” “You may well ask (= I don't really know either).”
  7. Thesauruswellgood all right OK fine healthy strong in shapeThese words all describe someone who is not sick and is in good health.well [not usually before noun] (somewhat informal) in good health:Is he well enough to travel? Well is used especially to talk about your own health, to ask someone about their health, or to make a comment on it.good [not usually before noun] (somewhat informal) in good health:I don't feel good. She's looking much better these days.all right [not before noun] (somewhat informal) not feeling ill; not injured:Are you feeling all right?OK [not before noun] (informal) not feeling ill; not injured:She says that she's OK now, and will be back at work tomorrow.all right or ok?These words are slightly less positive than the other words in this group. They are both used in spoken English, to talk about not actually being sick or injured, rather than being positively in good health. Both are somewhat informal but OK is slightly more informal than all right.fine [not before noun] (not used in negative statements) (somewhat informal) completely well:“How are you?” “Fine, thanks.” Fine is used especially to talk about your health, especially when someone asks you how you are. It is also used to talk about someone's health when you are talking to someone else.healthy in good health and not likely to become sick:Stay healthy by exercising regularly.strong in good health and not suffering from an illness:After a few weeks, she was feeling stronger. Strong is often used to talk about becoming healthy again after an shape in good physical health, especially because you take regular physical exercise:I go swimming every day in order to stay in shape.Patterns all right/OK/in shape for something all right/OK to do something to feel/look well/good/all right/OK/fine/healthy/strong to keep (somebody) well/healthy/in shape perfectly well/all right/OK/fine/healthy physically well/healthy/strong GrammarwellCompound adjectives beginning with well are generally written with no hyphen when they are used after a verb, but with a hyphen when they come before a noun:She is well dressed. a well-dressed womanThe forms with hyphens are given in the entries in the dictionary, but forms without hyphens can be seen in some examples.The comparative and superlative forms of these are usually formed with better and best:better-known poets the best-dressed person in the roomIdioms
    as well (as somebody/something) (rather formal)
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    in addition to someone or something; too Will your husband be attending as well? They sell books as well as newspapers. She is a talented musician as well as being a photographer. Which Word?also / as well / too Also usually comes before the main verb or after be:I went to New York last year, and I also spent some time in Washington.Too is much more common in spoken and informal English. It is usually used at the end of a sentence:“I’m going home now.” “I’ll come too.”As well often sounds formal or old-fashioned:“Will your husband be attending as well?” When you want to add a second negative point in a negative sentence, use not..either:She hasn’t called and she hasn’t written either.If you are adding a negative point to a positive one, you can use not…too/as well:You can have a burger, but you can’t have a hot dog too.
    be doing well
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    to be getting healthier after an illness; to be in good health after a birth Mother and baby are doing well.
    be well on the way to something/doing something
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    to have nearly achieved something and be going to achieve it soon She is well on the way to recovery. He is well on the way to establishing himself among the top ten players in the world.
    be well up on/in something
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    to know a lot about something He's well up on all the latest developments.
    to be successful Jack is doing very well at school.
    do well by somebody
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    to treat someone generously
    do well for yourself
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    to become successful or rich
    do well to do something
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    to be sensible or wise to do something He would do well to concentrate more on his work. You did well to sell when the price was high.
    know something as well as I do
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    used to criticize someone by saying that they should realize or understand something You know as well as I do that you're being unreasonable.
    know full well
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    to be very aware of a fact and unable to deny or ignore it He knew full well what she thought of it.
    leave/let well enough alone
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    to not get involved in something that does not concern you When it comes to other people's arguments, it's better to leave well enough alone.
    may/might (just) as well do something
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    to do something because it seems best in the situation that you are in, although you may not really want to do it If no one else wants it, we might as well give it to him.
    mean well (usually disapproving)
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    to have good intentions, although their effect may not be good
    pretty much/near/well (informal)
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    almost; almost completely One dog looks pretty much like another to me. He goes out pretty well every night. The first stage is pretty near finished.
    well and truly (informal)
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    completely By that time we were well and truly lost.
    well in (with somebody) (informal)
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    to be good friends with someone, especially someone important She seems to be well in with all the right people.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: well