- Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see very, well.
He managed the company very well.
1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, OCLC 16832619:
- Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language, he expressed the important words by an initial, a medial, or a final consonant, and made scratches for all the words between; his clerks, however, understood him very well.
- (idiomatic) Used to weaken the effect of certain modal verbs.
It may very well rain this afternoon.
I can't very well talk to you and concentrate on sanding this at the same time.
- (used to weaken the effect of modal verbs): The improbability introduced by may is weaker in It may very well rain than in It may rain. Likewise, the impossibility meant by can't is weaker in I can't very well talk than in I can't talk.
- (idiomatic, formal) Indicating acceptance, often with resignation or acquiescence, of a statement or situation.
- A: I don't want to go today.
- B: Very well. Let's go tomorrow, then.
- (naval) A standard response by a superior to a report or confirmation.
- Conning officer: "Rudder amidships."
- Helmsman: "Rudder amidships aye! Rudder now amidships."
- Conning officer: "Very well."