Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Prosperity; happiness: in weal and woe.
  • n. The welfare of the community; the general good: the public weal.
  • n. A ridge on the flesh raised by a blow; a welt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The mark of a stripe. See wale.
  • transitive v. To mark with stripes. See wale.
  • n. A sound, healthy, or prosperous state of a person or thing; prosperity; happiness; welfare.
  • n. The body politic; the state; common wealth.
  • transitive v. To promote the weal of; to cause to be prosperous.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Wealth; riches; hence, prosperity; success; happiness; well-being; the state of being well or prosperous: as, come weal or woe.
  • n. The state: properly in the phrases common weal, public weal, general weal, meaning primarily ‘the common or public welfare,’ but used (the first now as a compound word) to designate the state (in which weal used alone is an abbreviation of commonweal).
  • To promote the weal or welfare of.
  • Same as wale.
  • n. Same as wed.
  • To be in woe or want.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a raised mark on the skin (as produced by the blow of a whip); characteristic of many allergic reactions

Etymologies

Middle English wele, from Old English wela; see wel-1 in Indo-European roots.
Alteration (influenced by wheal) of wale.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English wela. (Wiktionary)
See wale (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • III. iv.76 (474,6) Ere human statute purg'd the gentle weal] The _gentle weal_, is, the _peaceable community_, the state made quiet and safe by

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • Answered the husbandman, “O my lord, weal is well nigh. 62 Dismount thee here: the town is near hand and I will go and fetch thee dinner and fodder for thy stallion.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • It is the high ambition of most women to become wives; and they count not the cost as to whether it will end in weal or woe; but they venture themselves, and their future "for better or worse."

    A Manual of Etiquette with Hints on Politeness and Good Breeding

  • In every free State where conjunctures like the present are not foreseen, you must be sensible that the public weal is endangered by every storm.

    News Report

  • The resurrection of the dead, that is, of dead bodies; and their re-union with their souls, to be eternal companions together in weal or woe, according as their state was towards God when they died, and the course of life they led in this world.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation)

  • If the generous youth find not a companion to console him, weal is forever cut off from him and ill is eternally established with him; and there is nothing for the sage but to solace himself in every event with brethren and be constant in patience and endurance: indeed these two are praiseworthy qualities, and both uphold one under calamities and vicissitudes of the world and ward off startling sorrows and harrowing cares, come what will.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • When the ships were laden with water and victual, weapons and troops, Sayf al-Muluk’s father and mother farewelled him and King Asim said, Depart, O my son, and travel in weal and health and safety.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Such an arrangement is required by the public weal, which is never committed with greater safety to the custody of any one than to his whose private advantage is entirely unconnected, with the issue.

    The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1

  • But namely that through the favour of God he hath chanced into that public weal, which is most happy and wealthy, and hath chosen that religion, which he hopeth to be most true.

    The Second Book. Of the Religions in Utopia

  • The ambition of the citizens increases with the power of the state; the strength of parties, with the importance of the ends they have in view; but that devotion to the common weal, which is the surest check on destructive passions, is not stronger in a large than in a small republic.

    American Institutions and Their Influence

Comments

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  • I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things. Isaiah 45:7 NRSV translation.

    March 17, 2012

  • (n): Prosperity, happiness; The welfare of the community, the general good.

    February 5, 2009