Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 12, 2020 is:
weal • WEEL • noun
: a sound, healthy, or prosperous state : well-being
Before presenting the bill to the legislature, the senator spoke of devotion to the general weal.
“All our life … is but a mass of habits,—practical, emotional, and intellectual,—systematically organized for our weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the latter may be.” — William James, Talks to Teachers on Psychology, 1899
Did you know?
Weal is most often used in contexts referring to the general good. One reads, for example, of the “public weal” or the “common weal.” The latter of these led to the formation of the noun commonweal, a word that once referred to an organized political entity, such as a nation or state, but today usually means “the general welfare.” The word commonwealth shares these meanings, but its situation is reversed; the “political entity” sense of commonwealth is still current whereas the “general welfare” sense has become archaic. At one time, weal and wealth were also synonyms; both meant “riches” (“all his worldly weal”) and “well-being.” Both words stem from wela, the Old English word for “well-being,” and are closely related to the Old English word for “well.”