weal

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

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.

Noun[edit]

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. (by extension) Boon, benefit.
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 557:
      And indeed I blamed myself and sore repented me of having taken compassion on him and continued in this condition, suffering fatigue not to be described, till I said to myself, "I wrought him a weal and he requited me with my ill; by Allah, never more will I do any man a service so long as I live!"
  4. 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]

Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

See wale.

Noun[edit]

weal (plural weals)

  1. A raised, longitudinal wound, usually purple, on the surface of flesh caused by a stroke of a rod or whip; a welt.
    • 1796, John Gabriel Stedman, Narrative of a Five Years’ Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, London: J. Johnson & J. Edwards, Volume 1, Chapter 12, p. 296,[1]
      [] although a few [slaves] live comfortably at Paramaribo, the greatest number are wretched, particularly those governed by a lady, who have many weals to show, but not the smallest indulgence to boast of.
    • 1892, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Great Shadow in The Great Shadow and Beyond the City, Bristol: J.W. Arrowsmith, Chapter 13, pp. 140-141,[2]
      He turned as I struck him and fired full into my face, and the bullet left a weal across my cheek which will mark me to my dying day.
    • 1958, T. H. White, The Once and Future King, London: Collins, 1959, Chapter 16,[3]
      He had been slashed sixteen times by mighty boars, and his legs had white weals of shiny flesh that stretched right up to his ribs.
    • 2007, Tan Twan Eng, The Gift of Rain, New York: Weinstein Books, Book Two, Chapter Twenty-One, p. 422,[4]
      And I saw the green island in the immense sea, the borders of the sea curling with a lining of light, like a vast piece of rice paper, its edges alive with weals of red embers, ready to burst into flame.
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

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

  1. To mark with stripes; to wale.

Anagrams[edit]