There are 4 definitions of spell in English:

spell1

Line breaks: spell
Pronunciation: /spɛl
 
/

verb (past and past participle spelled or chiefly British spelt)

[with object]
1Write or name the letters that form (a word) in correct sequence: Dolly spelled her name [no object]: journals have a house style about how to spell
More example sentences
  • Several immigrants didn't know how to write or spell their own names, so immigration inspectors created one for them.
  • The first twenty pages of my first book are filled with nothing but hundreds of attempts to learn to write and spell my name.
  • Did you make sure you spelt my name correctly?
1.1(Of letters) make up or form (a word): the letters spell the word ‘how’
More example sentences
  • The first team to lose five hands, thus getting five letters spelling the whole word K-E-M-P-S loses the game.
  • I've thought of writing a poem, with the first letter of each word spelling my email, but my attempts so far are not likely to get a reply.
  • The participants classified the target by pressing one key if the letter string spelled a word they knew, and another key if it did not.
2Be a sign or characteristic of: she had the chic, efficient look that spells Milan
2.1Mean or have as a result: the plans would spell disaster for the economy
More example sentences
  • Failure to resolve this last issue quickly and effectively would have spelled disaster for the plan.
  • The variable that promised to spell disaster for Iowa farmers was the high seed costs associated with GM crops.
  • For everyone else, however, it spells disaster.
Synonyms

Origin

Middle English: shortening of Old French espeller, from the Germanic base of spell2.

Phrasal verbs

spell something out

Explain something in detail: I’ll spell out the problem again
More example sentences
  • He said his plans will be spelled out in more detail in the strategy he will present to the EU later this week.
  • One area where costs are spelled out in detail is that of executive salary packages.
  • The details of the agreement will be spelled out in a contract.
Synonyms
explain, make clear, make plain, elucidate, clarify; specify, set out, set forth, state precisely, be specific about, itemize, detail, enumerate, list, unfold, expound, particularize, delineate, catalogue, rehearse

Derivatives

spellable

adjective
More example sentences
  • "I felt it was a spellable word," Liam said, after emerging from the spelling bee's famous "comfort room".
  • A spellable, pronounceable name that gets a positive reaction from the people you admire remains your safest naming bet.
  • They are all very spellable words. You just probably haven't heard them before.

Definition of spell in:

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Word of the day apposite
Pronunciation: ˈapəzɪt
adjective
apt in the circumstances or relation to something

There are 4 definitions of spell in English:

spell2

Line breaks: spell
Pronunciation: /spɛl
 
/

noun

1A form of words used as a magical charm or incantation: a spell is laid on the door to prevent entry
More example sentences
  • It wasn't quite the same as when a sorcerer used high level spells, but the words were still unintelligible.
  • Taukat showed his agreement by muttering the words of a spell and conjuring a cloud of acid rain over the unsuspecting targets.
  • Kyri was mumbling the words to a spell which she finished by laying her hand on Aikel's arm.
Synonyms
incantation, charm, conjuration, rune, magic formula; abracadabra; (spells)sorcery, magic, witchcraft, witchery; North Americanhex, mojo; New Zealandmakutu
1.1A state of enchantment caused by a magic spell: the magician may cast a spell on himself
More example sentences
  • I quickly cast a spell on my rod, blazing the magic back to the Shadow.
  • But before he took the last step that brought him to the old man's domain, Cale had paid a half-demon sorceress to cast a spell on him.
  • My mother died shortly after I became ten, I'm not sure what disease she had acquired, but I think Giselle must have cast a spell on her.
1.2An ability to control or influence people as though one had magical power over them: he woke from her spell
More example sentences
  • Only a ponderous blues lead by shaven headed bass player John Power temporarily broke the spell.
  • When you're in the culture and you're living it day to day, living in Brooklyn, South Central or Oakland, you are under the spell of that cultural influence.
  • Men often fall under the spell of the power of the boob.
Synonyms

Origin

Old English spel(l) 'narration', of Germanic origin.

Phrases

under a spell

Not fully in control of one’s thoughts and actions: the beauty of the land put me under a spell
More example sentences
  • I felt like I was under a spell, and could no longer control my body.
  • I don't want to say under a spell, that seems trite.
  • On stage he comes alive and places the audience under a spell; outside of it, he works fiercely with a number of charities and human rights organisations.

under someone's spell

So devoted to someone that they seem to have magic power over one: she needed to have men under her spell
More example sentences
  • He has some sort of magic that puts me under his spell.
  • She was under his spell; mesmerized by his eyes and his voice and, most of all, by his touch.
  • He was so sure of himself and his power to seduce that it was hard not to fall under his spell, not that I wasn't a willing participant.

Definition of spell in:

There are 4 definitions of spell in English:

spell3

Line breaks: spell
Pronunciation: /spɛl
 
/

noun

1A short period: I want to get away from racing for a spell
More example sentences
  • Paul took up the post of County Accountant in the mid-Seventies, leaving for a short spell, only to return to take up the post of Finance Officer.
  • However, he was married for a short spell while he was living in County Kerry.
  • They merely took advantage of it for short spells while unable to obtain other work.
Synonyms
period, time, interval, season, stretch, run, course, round, span, streak; snap
British informal patch, spot
1.1A period spent in an activity: a spell of greenhouse work
More example sentences
  • A spell of hectic activity around the Stradbally area resulted in Mick Haughney setting up Garry Powell to equalise, in the 80 minute.
  • Then look at the couch potato who seems ready, not for an evening in front of the TV, but for a spell of inadvertent train spotting.
  • Leaving school at 13 he did the round of reform schools after a spell of teenage misdemeanours.
Synonyms
stint, turn, stretch, session, term; shift, tour of duty, watch
1.2Australian/NZ A period of rest from work.
More example sentences
  • This spell from the action may well bring the front runners back to the field.
  • Just before this we had an hour's spell so we would be fresh.
1.3 Cricket A series of overs during a session of play in which a particular bowler bowls: he usually produces only one good spell in a Test
More example sentences
  • Sammy would again feature in that session when he came on as the first change bowler, to capture two wickets in an aggressive spell of seam bowling.
  • Three Rowntrees bowlers had satisfactory spells with Dave Whittle's 3-21 being the pick of the trio.
  • Alley has consistently broken opposition opening partnerships with his aggressive and accurate spells of fast bowling.

verb

[with object] chiefly North American Back to top  
1Allow (someone) to rest briefly by taking their place in an activity: I got sleepy and needed her to spell me for a while at the wheel
More example sentences
  • People begged him to seek help, admonished him for being stubborn, for his refusal to bring in others to spell him, for his refusal ever to leave her side.
1.1 [no object] Australian/NZ Take a brief rest: I’ll spell for a bit

Origin

late 16th century: variant of dialect spele 'take the place of', of unknown origin. The early sense of the noun was 'shift of relief workers'.

Definition of spell in: