Definition of well adverb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//wel//
    ; NAmE NAmE//wel//
    BrE BrE//ˈbetə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbetər//
    , best
    BrE BrE//best//
    ; NAmE NAmE//best//
    jump to other results
  1. 1  in a good, right or acceptable way The kids all behaved well. The conference was very well organized. Well done! (= expressing admiration for what somebody has done) 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. She was determined to marry well (= marry somebody rich and/or with a high social position). Grammar Pointwell Compound adjectives beginning with well are generally written with no hyphen when they are used alone after a verb, but with a hyphen when they come before a noun:She is well dressed. a well-dressed woman. The forms without hyphens are given in the entries in the dictionary, but forms with 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 room.
  2. 2  thoroughly 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. (British English, informal) I was well annoyed, I can tell you.
  3. 3  to 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 I can't very well leave now. I couldn'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. Word Originadverb Old English wel(l), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wel and German wohl; probably also to the modal verb will.Idioms
    as well (as somebody/something)
    jump to other results
     in addition to somebody/something; too Are they coming 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 is more formal than as well and too, and it usually comes before the main verb or after be:I went to New York last year, and I also spent some time in Washington. In British English it is not usually used at the end of a sentence. 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.’. In British English as well is used like too, but in North American English it sounds formal or old-fashioned. When you want to add a second negative point in a negative sentence, use not…either:She hasn’t phoned and she hasn’t written either. If you are adding a negative point to a positive one, you can use not… as well/​too:You can have a burger, but you can’t have fries as well.
     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
    jump to other results
    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 out of something
    jump to other results
    (British English, informal) to be lucky that you are not involved in something I don’t know exactly what’s been going on. I only know that you’re well out of it.
    be well up in something
    jump to other results
    to know a lot about something He's well up in all the latest developments.
    (British English, informal, taboo) used to emphasize an angry statement or an order You can bloody well keep your job—I don't want it! ‘I’m not coming.’ ‘Yes, you bloody well are!’  to be successful Jack is doing very well at school. to treat somebody generously to become successful or rich
    do well out of somebody/something
    jump to other results
    to make a profit or get money from somebody/something
    do well to do something
    jump to other results
    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.
    (especially British English) used to emphasize an angry statement or an order You're fucking well coming whether you want to or not. (old-fashioned, British English) used to emphasize a statement when you are annoyed about something If you don't come now, you can jolly well walk home!
    know something as well as I do
    jump to other results
    used to criticize somebody by saying that they should realize or understand something You know as well as I do that you're being unreasonable.
    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 alone (British English) (North American English let well enough alone)
    jump to other results
    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 alone.
    (you, etc.) may/might as well be hanged/hung for a sheep as (for) a lamb
    jump to other results
    (saying) if you are going to be punished for doing something wrong, whether it is a big or small thing, you may as well do the big thing
    may/might (just) as well do something
    jump to other results
    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.
    (usually disapproving) to have good intentions, although their effect may not be good
    pretty much/well (British English also pretty nearly) (North American English also pretty near)
    jump to other results
    (informal) 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.
    (informal) completely By that time we were well and truly lost.
      well away (British English, informal)
      jump to other results
    1. 1having made good progress If we got Terry to do that, we'd be well away.
    2. 2drunk or fast asleep
    well in (with somebody)
    jump to other results
    (informal) to be good friends with somebody, especially somebody important She seems to be well in with all the right people.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: well