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Spell Definition

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Other Spell Definition

[n] a verbal formula believed to have magical force; "he whispered a spell as he moved his hands"; "inscribed around its base is a charm in Balinese"
[n] a time for working (after which you will be relieved by someone else); "it's my go"; "a spell of work"
[n] a psychological state induced by (or as if induced by) a magical incantation
[n] a period of indeterminate length (usually short) marked by some action or condition; "he was here for a little while"; "I need to rest for a piece"; "a spell of good weather"
[v] indicate or signify; "I'm afraid this spells trouble!"
[v] recite the letters of or give the spelling of; "How do you spell this word?"
[v] place under a spell
[v] write or name the letters that comprise the conventionally accepted form of (a word or part of a word); "He spelled the word wrong in this letter"



Misc. Definitions

\Spell\, n. [OE. speld, AS. speld a spill to light a candle with; akin to D. speld a pin, OD. spelle, G. spalten to split, OHG. spaltan, MHG. spelte a splinter, Icel. spjald a square tablet, Goth. spilda a writing tablet. Cf. {Spill}splinter, roll of paper, {Spell} to tell the letters of.] A spelk, or splinter. [Obs.] --Holland.
\Spell\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Spelled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Spelling}.] [AS. spelian to supply another's place.] To supply the place of for a time; to take the turn of, at work; to relieve; as, to spell the helmsman.
\Spell\, n.
1. The relief of one person by another in any piece of work or watching; also, a turn at work which is carried on by one person or gang relieving another; as, a spell at the pumps; a spell at the masthead. A spell at the wheel is called a trick. --Ham. Nav. Encyc.
2. The time during which one person or gang works until relieved; hence, any relatively short period of time, whether a few hours, days, or weeks. Nothing new has happened in this quarter, except the setting in of a severe spell of cold weather. --Washington.
3. One of two or more persons or gangs who work by spells. [R.] Their toil is so extreme that they can not endure it above four hours in a day, but are succeeded by spells. --Garew.
4. A gratuitous helping forward of another's work; as, a logging spell. [Local, U.S.]
\Spell\, n.[AS. spell a saying, tale, speech; akin to OS. & OHG. spel, Icel. spjall,Goth. spill. Cf. {Gospel}, {Spell} to tell the letters of.]
1. A story; a tale. [Obs.] ``Hearken to my spell.'' --Chaucer.
2. A stanza, verse, or phrase supposed to be endowed with magical power; an incantation; hence, any charm. Start not; her actions shall be holy as You hear my spell is lawful. --Shak.
\Spell\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Spelled}or {Spelt}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Spelling}.] [OE. spellen, spellien, tell, relate, AS. spellian, fr. spell a saying, tale; akin to MHG. spellen to relate, Goth. spill?n.e {Spell} a tale. In sense 4 and those following, OE. spellen, perhaps originally a different word, and from or influenced by spell a splinter, from the use of a piece of wood to point to the letters in schools: cf. D. spellen to spell. Cf. {Spell} splinter.]
1. To tell; to relate; to teach. [Obs.] Might I that legend find, By fairies spelt in mystic rhymes. --T. Warton.
2. To put under the influence of a spell; to affect by a spell; to bewitch; to fascinate; to charm. ``Spelled with words of power.'' --Dryden. He was much spelled with Eleanor Talbot. --Sir G. Buck.
3. To constitute; to measure. [Obs.] The Saxon heptarchy, when seven kings put together did spell but one in effect. --Fuller.
4. To tell or name in their proper order letters of, as a word; to write or print in order the letters of, esp. the proper letters; to form, as words, by correct orthography. The word ``satire'' ought to be spelled with i, and not with y. --Dryden.
5. To discover by characters or marks; to read with difficulty; -- usually with out; as, to spell out the sense of an author; to spell out a verse in the Bible. To spell out a God in the works of creation. --South. To sit spelling and observing divine justice upon every accident. --Milton.
\Spell\, v. i.
1. To form words with letters, esp. with the proper letters, either orally or in writing. When what small knowledge was, in them did dwell, And he a god, who could but read or spell. --Dryden.
2. To study by noting characters; to gain knowledge or learn the meaning of anything, by study. [Obs.] Where I may sit and rightly spell Of every star that heaven doth shew, And every herb that sips the dew. --Milton.

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  • How many syllables are in Spell.
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