WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
spell1 /spɛl/USA pronunciation
v., spelledorspelt/spɛlt/USA pronunciationspell•ing.
Linguisticsto name, write, or otherwise give the letters, in order, of (a word, syllable, etc.): [~ + object]Did I spell your name right?[no object]How did you learn to spell so well?
Linguistics, [not: be + ~-ing; ~ + object] (of letters) to form (a word, syllable, etc.):Y-e-s spells yes.
to read or say (a word) letter by letter or with difficulty: [~ + out + object]Spell out your name for me.[~ + object + out]to spell some words out.
[not: be + ~-ing; ~ + object] to signify;
mean or signal:This delay spells disaster for the business.
spell out, to explain something plainly: [~ + object + out]Must I spell it out for you? Our engagement is broken![~ + out + object]Would someone spell out for me just what this crisis will do to our company?
spell2 /spɛl/USA pronunciation
a word or phrase believed to have magic power;
an incantation:uttering charms and spells.
a state or period of enchantment caused by magic power:living under a spell.
[usually: singular] any strong influence; fascination:under the spell of music.
spell3 /spɛl/USA pronunciation
a continuous period of activity:You've been driving all day; let someone else take a spell at the wheel.
a bout or fit of anything experienced:a spell of coughing.
an indefinite period:Come visit us for a spell.
a period of weather of a certain kind:a hot spell.
v. [~ + object]
to take the place of for a time; relieve:Let me spell you at the wheel.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
spell /spɛl/ vb (spells, spelling, spelt, spelled)
See also spell outEtymology: 13th Century: from Old French espeller, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse spialla to talk, Middle High German spellenˈspellable adj
- to write or name in correct order the letters that comprise the conventionally accepted form of (a word or part of a word)
- (transitive) (of letters) to go to make up the conventionally established form of (a word) when arranged correctly: d-o-g spells dog
- (transitive) to indicate or signify: such actions spell disaster for our cause
spell /spɛl/ n
- a verbal formula considered as having magical force
- any influence that can control the mind or character; fascination
- a state induced by or as if by the pronouncing of a spell; trance: to break the spell
- under a spell ⇒ held in or as if in a spell
Etymology: Old English spell speech; related to Old Norse spjall tale, Gothic spill, Old High German spel
- (transitive) rare to place under a spell
spell /spɛl/ n
- an indeterminate, usually short, period of time: a spell of cold weather
- a period or tour of duty after which one person or group relieves another
- Scot Austral NZ a period or interval of rest
Etymology: Old English spelian to take the place of, of obscure origin
- (transitive) to take over from (a person) for an interval of time; relieve temporarily
'spell' also found in these entries: