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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English wele, from Old English wela (wellness, welfare, prosperity, riches, well-being, wealth), from Proto-Germanic *walô (well-being, wellness, weal). Cognate with German Wohl, Danish vel, Swedish väl.


weal (uncountable)

  1. (obsolete) Wealth, riches. [10th-19th c.]
  2. (now literary) Welfare, prosperity. [from 10th c.]
    • Francis Bacon
      as we love the weal of our souls and bodies
    • Milton
      to him linked in weal or woe
  3. Specifically, the general happiness of a community, country etc. (often with qualifying word). [from 15th c.]
    • Macaulay
      Never was there a time when it more concerned the public weal that the character of the Parliament should stand high.
    • 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter IV:
      The austerity of my tone seemed to touch a nerve and kindle the fire that always slept in this vermilion-headed menace to the common weal [...].
    • 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation, Penguin 2003, p. 372:
      Louis could aim to restyle himself the first among citizens, viewing virtuous attachment to the public weal as his most important kingly duty.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

See wale


weal (plural weals)

  1. a raised, longitudinal wound, usually purple, on the surface of flesh caused by stroke of rod or whip; a welt.


weal (third-person singular simple present weals, present participle wealing, simple past and past participle wealed)

  1. To mark with stripes; to wale.