'Wellbeing' or 'Well-Being': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on January 7, 2023

Are you wondering which spelling to use – ‘wellbeing’ or ‘well-being’? And what is the difference between the two? We’ll cover that in more detail below, plus teach you how to use the correct one in a sentence.

Don’t feel like skimming for the answer? Here’s the short one. 'Well-being' is a noun that means 'a state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous.' 'Wellbeing' is the incorrect way people often spell the word, but it should never be used in your writing.

‘Well-being’ vs. ‘Wellbeing’ vs. ‘Well Being’

Is it ‘well-being,’ ‘wellbeing’ or ‘well being’?

It might be tricky to choose the correct spelling, even if you are a native English speaker.

But ‘wellbeing’ and ‘well being’ are both incorrect ways to spell the word. This is the only correct way to spell the word.

‘Wellbeing’ or ‘Well-Being’ – Which is Correct?

As we just learned, ‘wellbeing’ is an incorrect spelling of the word ‘well-being.’

The only correct way to spell the word is with a hyphen.

Now, let’s take a look at exactly what the word/phrase means.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Well-Being’

Now that you know the correct spelling, let’s quickly define the word, so we know how best to use it in a sentence later.

The Merriam-Webster definition of the phrase is: “the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous: welfare.”

Synonyms of the word include:

  • Good
  • Welfare
  • Interest
  • Weal

A Brief History

The first known use of the word was in 1561, and it meant the same thing it means today.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Well-Being’

Not sure how to pronounce the word ‘well-being’? Let’s clear that up.

The word ‘well’ is pronounced exactly how it’s spelled. The ‘e’ has a short e sound. In phonics, the short E sound is called a relaxed middle vowel sound.

Other words that have a short ‘e’ sound include:

  • Jet
  • Bed
  • Net
  • Let
  • Set
  • Get

It rhymes with words likes:

  • Sell
  • Gel
  • Tell
  • Hell

The word ‘being’ is pronounced like BEE-YING. The ‘I’ has the short ‘I’ sound. Other words with the short ‘I’ sound include:

  • Itch
  • In
  • Hill
  • Trick
  • Pin
  • Bin
  • Rich

How to Use ‘Well-Being’ In a Sentence

Now that you know what the word means and how to pronounce it let’s see some examples of how to use it in a sentence correctly.

  • Your emotional well-being is important to me. I’m trying to help you.
  • No one wants to go on a hike, even if it is good for our overall well-being.
  • I had to take a mental health day for my overall well-being.
  • The principal is responsible for the health, safety, and well-being of every student.
  • Don’t lie to your doctor about your health and well-being.
  • Are y’all taking care of yourselves? Your health and well-being are important. 

Final Thoughts on ‘Well-Being’

To recap, you’ve learned that ‘well-being’ is the only correct way to spell this word/phrase. Any other spelling of the word is ungrammatical and incorrect. Therefore, you should only use the hyphenated version when crafting your sentences.

Need help with other confusing words? We’ve got an entire library of content dedicated to explaining confusing words and phrases you might get stuck on in the English language.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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