well (adv.)

"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.

well (v.)

"to spring, rise, gush," Old English wiellan (Anglian wællan), causative of weallan "to boil, bubble up, rise (in reference to a river)" (class VII strong verb; past tense weoll, past participle weallen), from Proto-Germanic *wellanan "to roll" (source also of Old Saxon wallan, Old Norse vella, Old Frisian walla, Old High German wallan, German wallen, Gothic wulan "to bubble, boil"), from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve," on notion of "roiling or bubbling water."

well (n.)

"hole dug for water, spring of water," Old English wielle (West Saxon), welle (Anglian) "spring of water, fountain," from wiellan (see well (v.)). "As soon as a spring begins to be utilized as a source of water-supply it is more or less thoroughly transformed into a well" [Century Dictionary]. Figurative sense of "source from which anything is drawn" was in Old English.

updated on October 22, 2018

Definitions of well from WordNet
well (adv.)
(often used as a combining form) in a good or proper or satisfactory manner or to a high standard (`good' is a nonstandard dialectal variant for `well');
a well-argued thesis
the children behaved well
a task well done
the party went well
a well-seasoned dish
he slept well
a well-planned party
Synonyms: good
well (adv.)
thoroughly or completely; fully; often used as a combining form;
The problem is well understood
she was well informed
shake well before using
well-done beef
well-satisfied customers
in order to avoid food poisoning be sure the meat is well cooked
well (adv.)
indicating high probability; in all likelihood;
I might well do it
you may well need your umbrella
he could equally well be trying to deceive us
Synonyms: easily
well (adv.)
(used for emphasis or as an intensifier) entirely or fully;
a book well worth reading
was well aware of the difficulties ahead
suspected only too well what might be going on
well (adv.)
to a suitable or appropriate extent or degree;
the fetus has well developed organs
the project was well underway
his father was well pleased with his grades
well (adv.)
favorably; with approval;
he thought well of the book
their neighbors spoke well of them
well (adv.)
to a great extent or degree;
I'm afraid the film was well over budget
Synonyms: considerably / substantially
well (adv.)
with great or especially intimate knowledge;
we knew them well
Synonyms: intimately
well (adv.)
with prudence or propriety;
You would do well to say nothing more
could not well refuse
well (adv.)
with skill or in a pleasing manner;
he writes well
she dances well
well (adv.)
in a manner affording benefit or advantage;
she married well
Synonyms: advantageously
well (adv.)
in financial comfort;
They live well
Synonyms: comfortably
well (adv.)
without unusual distress or resentment; with good humor;
took the joke well
took the tragic news well
well (n.)
a deep hole or shaft dug or drilled to obtain water or oil or gas or brine;
well (n.)
a cavity or vessel used to contain liquid;
well (n.)
an abundant source;
she was a well of information
well (n.)
an open shaft through the floors of a building (as for a stairway);
well (n.)
an enclosed compartment in a ship or plane for holding something as e.g. fish or a plane's landing gear or for protecting something as e.g. a ship's pumps;
well (adj.)
resulting favorably;
all's well that ends well
it is well that no one saw you
Synonyms: good
well (adj.)
wise or advantageous and hence advisable;
it would be well to start early
well (adj.)
in good health especially after having suffered illness or injury; "I think I'm well; at least I feel well";
appears to be entirely well
a well man
the wound is nearly well
well (v.)
come up, as of a liquid;
Tears well in her eyes
the currents well up
Synonyms: swell
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.