Entries linking to well-done
"in a satisfactory manner," Old English wel "abundantly, very, very much; indeed, to be sure; with good reason; nearly, for the most part," from Proto-Germanic *wel- (source also of Old Saxon wela, Old Norse vel, Old Frisian wel, Dutch wel, Old High German wela, German wohl, Gothic waila "well"), from PIE root *wel- (2) "to wish, will" (source also of Sanskrit prati varam "at will," Old Church Slavonic vole "well," Welsh gwell "better," Latin velle "to wish, will," Old English willan "to wish;" see will (v.)).
Also used in Old English as an interjection and an expression of surprise. The adjective was in Old English in the sense "in good fortune, happy," from the adverb; sense of "satisfactory" is from late 14c.; "agreeable to wish or desire" is from mid-15c.; "in good health, not ailing" is from 1550s. Well-to-do "prosperous" is recorded by 1794.
past participle of do (v.); from Old English past participle gedon (a vestige of the prefix is in ado). As a past-participle adjective meaning "completed, finished, performed, accomplished" from early 15c. As a word of acceptance of a deal or wager, 1590s.
U.S. Southern use of done in phrases such as done gone (or "Octopots done got Albert!") is attested by 1827, according to OED: "a perfective auxiliary or with adverbial force in the sense 'already; completely.' " Century Dictionary writes that it was "originally causal after have or had, followed by an object infinitive ; in present use the have or had is often omitted and the infinitive turned into a preterit, leaving done as a mere preterit sign" and calls it "a characteristic of negro idiom."
To be done in "exhausted" is by 1917. Slang done for "doomed" is by 1803 (colloquial do for "ruin, damage" is from 1740). To have done it "to have been very foolish, made a mess of things" is from 1837.
updated on October 10, 2017