This context comes from the Steven King's novel "The Shining"

"Or you take the race track. I go a lot, and I usually do pretty well. I stand by the rail when they go by the starting gate, and sometimes I get a little shine about this horse or that one. Usually, those feelings help me get real well. I always tell myself that someday I'm gonna get three at once on three long shots and make enough on the trifecta to retire early. It ain't happened yet. But there's plenty of times I've come home from the track on shank's mare instead in a taxicab with my wallet swollen up."

"well" adj

  1. fortunate or happy: it is well that you agreed to go.(Collins English Dictionary)

Happy would fit the context but the example sentence from Collins dictionary makes me question if "happy" applies to a person's mood and not to an occurrence or situation.

get well

To recover one's health. Joan was in the hospital last month, but she's gotten well since then. I heard you have the flu, so I hope you get well soon!

This phrasal verb is definitely not what he is saying.


1 Answer 1


"get well" is an idiom, now rare, meaning "to become prosperous" or "to make a significant amount of money". I have encountered it mostly in fiction from the late 19th century, or the first half of the 20th, say the period 1875-1950. I particularly recall it in the work of Damon Runyon. Possibly related is adverb sense 9 of "well" from Merriam-webster which is defined as "with material success : advantageously"

So here "get real well" means make a lot of money on a bet. This is clear from context, as the speaker talks about the success and failure of bets bases on these "feelings".

  • Hehe, nice explanation, thx. Nov 17, 2022 at 21:29

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