The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Well \Well\, n. [OE. welle, AS. wella, wylla, from weallan to
well up, surge, boil; akin to D. wel a spring or fountain.
????. See Well, v. i.]
1. An issue of water from the earth; a spring; a fountain.
Begin, then, sisters of the sacred well. --Milton.
2. A pit or hole sunk into the earth to such a depth as to
reach a supply of water, generally of a cylindrical form,
and often walled with stone or bricks to prevent the earth
from caving in.
The woman said unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to
draw with, and the well is deep. --John iv. 11.
3. A shaft made in the earth to obtain oil or brine.
4. Fig.: A source of supply; fountain; wellspring. "This well
of mercy." --Chaucer.
Dan Chaucer, well of English undefiled. --Spenser.
A well of serious thought and pure. --Keble.
(a) An inclosure in the middle of a vessel's hold, around
the pumps, from the bottom to the lower deck, to
preserve the pumps from damage and facilitate their
(b) A compartment in the middle of the hold of a fishing
vessel, made tight at the sides, but having holes
perforated in the bottom to let in water for the
preservation of fish alive while they are transported
(c) A vertical passage in the stern into which an
auxiliary screw propeller may be drawn up out of
(d) A depressed space in the after part of the deck; --
often called the cockpit.
6. (Mil.) A hole or excavation in the earth, in mining, from
which run branches or galleries.
7. (Arch.) An opening through the floors of a building, as
for a staircase or an elevator; a wellhole.
8. (Metal.) The lower part of a furnace, into which the metal
Artesian well, Driven well. See under Artesian, and
Pump well. (Naut.) See Well, 5
Well boring, the art or process of boring an artesian well.
(a) A drain or vent for water, somewhat like a well or
pit, serving to discharge the water of wet land.
(b) A drain conducting to a well or pit.
(a) A room where a well or spring is situated; especially,
one built over a mineral spring.
(b) (Naut.) A depression in the bottom of a boat, into
which water may run, and whence it is thrown out with
Well sinker, one who sinks or digs wells.
Well sinking, the art or process of sinking or digging
Well staircase (Arch.), a staircase having a wellhole (see
(b) ), as distinguished from one which occupies the whole
of the space left for it in the floor.
Well sweep. Same as Sweep, n., 12.
Well water, the water that flows into a well from
subterraneous springs; the water drawn from a well.