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Collins Cobuild Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary
  • Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary offers learners of English detailed coverage of today’s language. Written in simple, natural English, this dictionary is exceptionally easy to use and understand. The examples, which have all been taken from the Bank of English®, part of the prestigious Collins Word Web, are invaluable in providing context for words and phrases. The user will also have quick and easy access to grammatical information and additional information on synonyms, pragmatics and frequency. Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary - the complete reference tool for learners of English. Bank of English® is a registered trademark of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.


  1. [we̱l]


    (Well is used mainly in spoken English.)

    1. ADV: ADV cl You say well to indicate that you are about to say something.

    2. ADV: ADV cl You say well to indicate that you intend or want to carry on speaking.

    3. ADV: ADV cl You say well to indicate that you are changing the topic, and are either going back to something that was being discussed earlier or are going on to something new.

    4. ADV: ADV cl You say well to indicate that you have reached the end of a conversation.

    5. ADV: ADV cl You say well to make a suggestion, criticism, or correction seem less definite or rude.

    6. ADV: ADV cl You say well just before or after you pause, especially to give yourself time to think about what you are going to say.

    7. ADV: ADV cl/group You say well when you are correcting something that you have just said.

    8. ADV: ADV cl (feelings) You say well to express your doubt about something that someone has said.

    9. EXCLAM (feelings) You say well to express your surprise or anger at something that someone has just said or done.

    10. CONVENTION (feelings) You say well to indicate that you are waiting for someone to say something and often to express your irritation with them.

    11. CONVENTION (feelings) You use well to indicate that you are amused by something you have heard or seen, and often to introduce a comment on it.

    12. CONVENTION (feelings) You say oh well to indicate that you accept a situation or that someone else should accept it, even though you or they are not very happy about it, because it is not too bad and cannot be changed.

    13. very well see very

  2. [we̱l]


    better, best

    1. ADV-GRADED: ADV after v If you do something well, you do it to a high standard or to a great extent.

    2. ADV-GRADED: ADV after v If you do something well, you do it thoroughly and completely.

    3. ADV-GRADED: ADV after v If you speak or think well of someone, you say or think favourable things about them.

    4. COMB in ADJ-GRADED Well is used in front of past participles to indicate that something is done to a high standard or to a great extent.

    5. ADV-GRADED: how ADV, as ADV as, ADV-compar than You use well to ask or talk about the extent or standard of something.

    6. ADV: ADV prep (emphasis) You use well in front of a prepositional phrase to emphasize it. For example, if you say that one thing happened well before another, you mean that it happened a long time before it.

    7. ADV-GRADED: ADV adj (emphasis) You use well before certain adjectives to emphasize them.

    8. ADV: ADV adj (emphasis) Some people use well before adjectives referring to feelings to emphasize that the feeling is very strong. [INFORMAL]

    9. ADV: adv ADV, ADV with v (emphasis) You use well after adverbs such as `perfectly', `jolly', or `damn' in order to emphasize an opinion or the truth of what you are saying.

    10. ADV: modal ADV (emphasis) You use well after verbs such as `may' and `could' when you are saying what you think is likely to happen.

  3. [we̱l]


    (Please look at category 14 to see if the expression you are looking for is shown under another headword.)

    1. PHRASE: cl PHR You use as well when mentioning something which happens in the same way as something else already mentioned, or which should be considered at the same time as that thing.

    2. PHR-PREP You use as well as when you want to mention another item connected with the subject you are discussing.

    3. PHRASE If you say, after stating that something has happened or is the case, as well it might or as well it may, you mean that this is not at all surprising or is quite appropriate.

    4. PHRASE: V inflects, oft it PHR that If you say that something that has happened is just as well, you mean that it is fortunate that it happened in the way it did.

    5. PHRASE: V inflects, PHR inf You say it is as well to think or do something when you are advising someone to think in a particular way or to take a particular action.

    6. PHR-MODAL If you say that someone would do well to do something, you mean that you advise or recommend that they do it.

    7. PHRASE: PHR inf If you say that something, usually something bad, might as well be true or may as well be true, you mean that the situation is the same or almost the same as if it were true.

    8. PHRASE: usu PHR inf If you say that you might as well do something, or that you may as well do it, you mean that you will do it although you do not have a strong desire to do it and may even feel slightly unwilling to do it.

    9. PHRASE: usu v-link PHR, oft PHR for n, PHR to-inf If you say that something is all well and good, you are suggesting that it has faults or disadvantages, although it may appear to be correct or reasonable.

    10. PHRASE: usu PHR with cl, v-link PHR, it v-link PHR to-inf/-ing You say well and good or all well and good to indicate that you would be pleased if something happens but you are aware that it has some disadvantages.

    11. PHRASE: V inflects If you say to someone who is no longer involved in a situation that they are well out of it, you mean that it is a good thing they are no longer involved and they should be pleased about this. [mainly BRIT]

    12. PHRASE: PHR group (emphasis) If you say that something is well and truly finished, gone, or done, you are emphasizing that it is completely finished or gone, or thoroughly done. [mainly BRIT]

    13. PHRASE: PHR after v If you say that you like something or someone well enough, you mean that you quite like them or find them reasonably acceptable.

    14. all very well see all

      to know full well see full

      to leave well alone see leave

      to mean well see mean

      pretty well see pretty

  4. [we̱l]


    ADJ-GRADED: usu v-link ADJ

    If you are well, you are healthy and not ill.

  5. [we̱l]



    1. N-COUNT A well is a hole in the ground from which a supply of water is extracted.

    2. N-COUNT A well is an oil well.

  6. [we̱l]


    wells, welling, welled

    1. VERB If liquids, for example tears, well, they come to the surface and form a pool.


      • Well up means the same as well. V P Tears welled up in Anni's eyes.
    2. VERB If an emotion wells in you, it suddenly becomes stronger, to the point where you have to express it.


      • Well up means the same as well. V P in/inside n He could feel the anger welling up inside him... V P Hope welled up.

Add to my dictionary

we̱lWell is used mainly in spoken English.

User translations

The part of speech is not specified

  1. 1.


    translation added by Marissa Zebadua

Word forms


Common casewellwells
Possessive casewell'swells'


Positive degreewell
Comparative degreebetter
Superlative degreebest


Positive degreewell
Comparative degreebetter
Superlative degreebest


Basic forms
Present Participle (Participle I)welling
Past Participle (Participle II)welled
Present Indefinite, Active Voice
I wellwe well
you wellyou well
he/she/it wellsthey well
Present Continuous, Active Voice
I am wellingwe are welling
you are wellingyou are welling
he/she/it is wellingthey are welling
Present Perfect, Active Voice
I have welledwe have welled
you have welledyou have welled
he/she/it has welledthey have welled
Present Perfect Continuous, Active Voice
I have been wellingwe have been welling
you have been wellingyou have been welling
he/she/it has been wellingthey have been welling
Past Indefinite, Active Voice
I welledwe welled
you welledyou welled
he/she/it welledthey welled
Past Continuous, Active Voice
I was wellingwe were welling
you were wellingyou were welling
he/she/it was wellingthey were welling
Past Perfect, Active Voice
I had welledwe had welled
you had welledyou had welled
he/she/it had welledthey had welled
Past Perfect Continuous, Active Voice
I had been wellingwe had been welling
you had been wellingyou had been welling
he/she/it had been wellingthey had been welling
Future Indefinite, Active Voice
I shall/will wellwe shall/will well
you will wellyou will well
he/she/it will wellthey will well
Future Continuous, Active Voice
I shall/will be wellingwe shall/will be welling
you will be wellingyou will be welling
he/she/it will be wellingthey will be welling
Future Perfect, Active Voice
I shall/will have welledwe shall/will have welled
you will have welledyou will have welled
he/she/it will have welledthey will have welled
Future Perfect Continuous, Active Voice
I shall/will have been wellingwe shall/will have been welling
you will have been wellingyou will have been welling
he/she/it will have been wellingthey will have been welling
Future in the Past Indefinite, Active Voice
I should/would wellwe should/would well
you would wellyou would well
he/she/it would wellthey would well
Future in the Past Continuous, Active Voice
I should/would be wellingwe should/would be welling
you would be wellingyou would be welling
he/she/it would be wellingthey would be welling
Future in the Past Perfect, Active Voice
I should/would have welledwe should/would have welled
you would have welledyou would have welled
he/she/it would have welledthey would have welled
Future in the Past Perfect Continuous, Active Voice
I should/would have been wellingwe should/would have been welling
you would have been wellingyou would have been welling
he/she/it would have been wellingthey would have been welling
Present Indefinite, Passive Voice
I am welledwe are welled
you are welledyou are welled
he/she/it is welledthey are welled
Present Continuous, Passive Voice
I am being welledwe are being welled
you are being welledyou are being welled
he/she/it is being welledthey are being welled
Present Perfect, Passive Voice
I have been welledwe have been welled
you have been welledyou have been welled
he/she/it has been welledthey have been welled
Past Indefinite, Passive Voice
I was welledwe were welled
you were welledyou were welled
he/she/it was welledthey were welled
Past Continuous, Passive Voice
I was being welledwe were being welled
you were being welledyou were being welled
he/she/it was being welledthey were being welled
Past Perfect, Passive Voice
I had been welledwe had been welled
you had been welledyou had been welled
he/she/it had been welledthey had been welled
Future Indefinite, Passive Voice
I shall/will be welledwe shall/will be welled
you will be welledyou will be welled
he/she/it will be welledthey will be welled
Future Perfect, Passive Voice
I shall/will have been welledwe shall/will have been welled
you will have been welledyou will have been welled
he/she/it will have been welledthey will have been welled