spell

verb (1)
\ ˈspel \
spelled\ˈspeld, ˈspelt \; spelling

Definition of spell 

(Entry 1 of 5)

transitive verb

1 : to read slowly and with difficulty often used with out

2 : to find out by study : come to understand often used with out it requires some pains to spell out those decorations —F. J. Mather

3a(1) : to name the letters of in order also : to write or print the letters of in order

(2) : to write or print the letters of in a particular way

b : to make up (a word) what word do these letters spell

c : write sense 1b catnip is spelled as one word

4 : to add up to : mean crop failure was likely to spell stark famine —Stringfellow Barr

intransitive verb

: to form words with letters teach children to spell also : to spell words in a certain way spells the way he speaks

spell

noun (1)

Definition of spell (Entry 2 of 5)

1a : a spoken word or form of words held to have magic power

b : a state of enchantment

2 : a strong compelling influence or attraction

spell

verb (2)
\ ˈspel \
spelled\ˈspeld \; spelling

Definition of spell (Entry 3 of 5)

transitive verb

: to put under a spell

spell

noun (2)

Definition of spell (Entry 4 of 5)

1a archaic : a shift of workers

b : one's turn at work

2a : a period spent in a job or occupation

b chiefly Australia : a period of rest from work, activity, or use

3a : an indeterminate period of time waited a spell before advancing also : a continuous period of time did a spell in prison

b : a stretch of a specified type of weather

4 : a period of bodily or mental distress or disorder a spell of coughing fainting spells

spell

verb (3)
spelled\ˈspeld \; spelling

Definition of spell (Entry 5 of 5)

transitive verb

1 : to take the place of for a time : relieve we spell each other every two hours

2 : rest

intransitive verb

1 : to work in turns

2 chiefly Australia : to rest from an activity for a time

First Known Use of spell

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (1)

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

circa 1623, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (3)

1595, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for spell

Verb (1)

Middle English, to mean, signify, read by spelling out letters, from Anglo-French espeleir, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English spellian to relate, spell talk

Noun (1)

Middle English, talk, tale, from Old English; akin to Old High German spel talk, tale

Noun (2)

probably alteration of Middle English spale substitute, from Old English spala

Verb (3)

Middle English spelen, from Old English spelian; akin to Old English spala substitute

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Dictionary Entries near spell

speleothem

spelican

spelk

spell

spellable

spellbind

spellbinder

Statistics for spell

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spell

The first known use of spell was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for spell

spell

verb
\ ˈspel \
spelled; spelling

Kids Definition of spell

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : to name, write, or print in order the letters of a word

2 : to make up the letters of C-A-T spells the word “cat.”

3 : to have (such) a spelling My name is Lynne spelled with an E.

4 : to amount to : mean Another drought would spell famine.

spell

noun

Kids Definition of spell (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : a spoken word or group of words believed to have magic power : charm

2 : a very strong influence Their talking broke the music's spell.

spell

noun

Kids Definition of spell (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : a short period of time Come and sit a spell.

2 : a stretch of a specified kind of weather a dry spell a warm spell

3 : a period of bodily or mental distress or disorder fainting spells

4 : a person's turn at work or duty

5 : a period spent in a job or occupation After a spell of teaching, she went back to sales.

spell

verb
spelled; spelling

Kids Definition of spell (Entry 4 of 4)

: to take the place of for a time : relieve spell a person at shoveling Grandma … took the paddle out of her hand. “I'll spell you, Wilma.” —Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder

spell

noun
\ ˈspel \

Medical Definition of spell 

: a period of bodily or mental distress or disorder a spell of coughing fainting spells

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