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[wel] /wɛl/
a hole drilled or bored into the earth to obtain water, petroleum, natural gas, brine, or sulfur.
a spring or natural source of water.
an apparent reservoir or a source of human feelings, emotions, energy, etc.:
He was a well of gentleness and courtesy.
a container, receptacle, or reservoir for a liquid:
the well of ink in a fountain pen.
any sunken or deep, enclosed space, as a shaft for air or light, stairs, or an elevator, extending vertically through the floors of a building.
  1. a part of a weather deck between two superstructures, extending from one side of a vessel to the other.
  2. a compartment or enclosure around a ship's pumps to make them easily accessible and protect them from being damaged by the cargo.
a hollow compartment, recessed area, or depression for holding a specific item or items, as fish in the bottom of a boat or the retracted wheels of an airplane in flight.
any shaft dug or bored into the earth, as for storage space or a mine.
verb (used without object)
to rise, spring, or gush, as water, from the earth or some other source (often followed by up, out, or forth):
Tears welled up in my eyes.
verb (used with object)
to send welling up or forth:
a fountain welling its pure water.
like, of, resembling, from, or used in connection with a well.
Origin of well2
before 900; (noun) Middle English well(e), Old English wylle, wella, welle; cognate with German Welle wave; (v.) Middle English wellen, Old English wellan (cognate with Dutch wellen, Old Norse vella); both noun and v. ultimately akin to weallan to boil
3. store, fund, mine, fount. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for welling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It gave her a welling tenderness and gratitude to have Sophie concerned for her tiredness, and fuss about her like this.

    The Black Opal Katharine Susannah Prichard
  • The sea upbore me, flood of the tide, on Finnish land, the welling waters.

    Beowulf Anonymous
  • The name "Father" applied to God in Paul is more than a bare title; it is the welling up of the depths of the soul.

    The Origin of Paul's Religion J. Gresham Machen
  • Back of his shoulder was a jagged hole, from which his life-blood was welling.

  • Boldre pointed to his leg, from which the blood was welling.

    The Disputed V.C. Frederick P. Gibbon
  • He felt the stickiness, but the red blood was not welling out.

    The Memory of Mars Raymond F. Jones
  • Yes, there they are welling out, honest large drops, chasing each other to the point of her nose.

    Piccadilly Laurence Oliphant
  • Lowly she bent, clasping her hands and with the tears now welling from her eyes.

    Starlight Ranch Charles King
British Dictionary definitions for welling


adverb better, best
(often used in combination) in a satisfactory manner: the party went very well
(often used in combination) in a good, skilful, or pleasing manner: she plays the violin well
in a correct or careful manner: listen well to my words
in a comfortable or prosperous manner: to live well
(usually used with auxiliaries) suitably; fittingly: you can't very well say that
intimately: I knew him well
in a kind or favourable manner: she speaks well of you
to a great or considerable extent; fully: to be well informed
by a considerable margin: let me know well in advance
preceded by could, might, or may. indeed: you may well have to do it yourself
(informal) (intensifier): well safe
all very well, used ironically to express discontent, dissent, etc
as well
  1. in addition; too
  2. preceded by may or might. with equal effect: you might as well come
  3. just as well, preferable or advisable: it would be just as well if you paid me now
as well as, in addition to
just leave well alone, just leave well enough alone, to refrain from interfering with something that is satisfactory
well and good, used to indicate calm acceptance, as of a decision: if you accept my offer, well and good
well up in, well acquainted with (a particular subject); knowledgeable about
adjective (usually postpositive)
(when prenominal, usually used with a negative) in good health: I'm very well, thank you, he's not a well man
satisfactory, agreeable, or pleasing
prudent; advisable: it would be well to make no comment
prosperous or comfortable
fortunate or happy: it is well that you agreed to go
  1. an expression of surprise, indignation, or reproof
  2. an expression of anticipation in waiting for an answer or remark
sentence connector
an expression used to preface a remark, gain time, etc: well, I don't think I will come
Word Origin
Old English wel; related to Old High German wala, wola (German wohl), Old Norse val, Gothic waila


a hole or shaft that is excavated, drilled, bored, or cut into the earth so as to tap a supply of water, oil, gas, etc
a natural pool where ground water comes to the surface
  1. a cavity, space, or vessel used to contain a liquid
  2. (in combination): an inkwell
an open shaft through the floors of a building, such as one used for a staircase
a deep enclosed space in a building or between buildings that is open to the sky to permit light and air to enter
  1. a bulkheaded compartment built around a ship's pumps for protection and ease of access
  2. another word for cockpit
a perforated tank in the hold of a fishing boat for keeping caught fish alive
(in England) the open space in the centre of a law court
a source, esp one that provides a continuous supply: he is a well of knowledge
to flow or cause to flow upwards or outwards: tears welled from her eyes
Word Origin
Old English wella; related to Old High German wella (German Welle wave), Old Norse vella boiling heat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for welling



"in a satisfactory manner," Old English wel, common Germanic (cf. Old Saxon wela, Old Norse vel, Old Frisian wel, Dutch wel, Old High German wela, German wohl, Gothic waila "well"), from PIE *wel-, *wol- (cf. 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. Well-to-do "prosperous" is recorded from 1825.


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


"hole dug for water, spring of water," Old English wielle (West Saxon), welle (Anglian), from wiellan (see well (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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welling in Science
A deep hole or shaft sunk into the Earth to tap a liquid or gaseous substance such as water, oil, gas, or brine. If the substance is not under sufficient pressure to flow freely from the well, it must be pumped or raised mechanically to the surface. Water or pressurized gas is sometimes pumped into a nonproducing oil well to push petroleum resources out of underground reservoirs. See also artesian well.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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welling in the Bible

(Heb. beer), to be distinguished from a fountain (Heb. 'ain). A "beer" was a deep shaft, bored far under the rocky surface by the art of man, which contained water which percolated through the strata in its sides. Such wells were those of Jacob and Beersheba, etc. (see Gen. 21:19, 25, 30, 31; 24:11; 26:15, 18-25, 32, etc.). In the Pentateuch this word beer, so rendered, occurs twenty-five times.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with welling
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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