1 verb past tense and past participle spelt, especially BrE spelled especially AmE
1 (I, T) to form a word by writing or naming the letters in the correct order: “How do you spell your name?” “S-M-Y-T-H.” | can spell (=be good at spelling words correctly): I used to fail exams because I couldn't spell. | spell sth wrong/wrongly: You've spelled my name wrong.
2 (transitive not in passive) if letters spell a word, they form it: B-O-O-K spells `book'.
3 spell trouble/disaster/danger etc if a situation or action spells trouble etc, it makes you expect trouble etc: Such a scandal could spell disaster for the government.
4 (T) AmE & AustrE to do someone else's work for them for a short period so that they can rest: Can I spell you at the wheel?
spell sth out phrasal verb (T)
1 to show how a word is spelled by writing or saying the letters separately in the right order: “Could you spell that out for me?” “ F-A-H-E-R-T-Y”
2 to explain something clearly and in detail: spell out how/what etc: Will the Minister spell out exactly how he intends to finance these tax cuts?
3 to write a word in its complete form instead of using an abbreviation: If you are using initials for the title of a group, be sure to spell them out at least once in your article.
2 noun (C)
1 a piece of magic that someone does or the special words or ceremonies used in doing it: put a spell on/cast a spell over (=do a piece of magic to change something): The wizard had put a spell on the city to send all its people to sleep. | break the spell (=stop the spell from working) | under a spell: The frog was really a handsome young prince under a spell.
2 a period of a particular kind of activity, weather etc, usually a short period: After a brief spell in the army I returned to teaching.
(+ of): a spell of bad luck | a cold/wet/dry spell: Do you remember that foggy spell we had in April?
3 a power that attracts and influences you so strongly that it completely controls your feelings: be/fall under sb's spell: Maya fell under his spell within minutes of meeting him.
4 a very short period of feeling ill: a dizzy spell

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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  • Spell — 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spell — can be: *Spell (paranormal) * Spell (recipe) * The Spell , a novel * *Spell (band), a musical group consisting of Boyd Rice and Rose McDowall *The Spells, an American indie rock band of the late 1990s consisting of Carrie Brownstein and Mary… …   Wikipedia

  • spell — spell1 [spel] n. [ME < OE, a saying, tale, charm, akin to Goth spill, tale < ? IE base * (s)pel , to speak loudly] 1. a word, formula, or form of words thought to have some magic power; incantation 2. seemingly magical power or irresistible …   English World dictionary

  • spell — Ⅰ. spell [1] ► VERB (past and past part. spelled or chiefly Brit. spelt) 1) write or name the letters that form (a word) in correct sequence. 2) (of letters) make up or form (a word). 3) be a sign of; lead to: the plans would spell disaster. 4) …   English terms dictionary

  • Spell — 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. [1913 Webster] A spell at the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spell — n Spell, shift, tour, trick, turn, stint, bout, go can mean a limited period or amount of some activity that often follows a schedule. Spell is ordinarily used in reference to very heavy or trying work which must be interrupted by a period of… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Spell — 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. [1913 Webster] 2. A stanza, verse, or phrase… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spell — [n1] interval, period bit, bout, course, go, hitch, interlude, intermission, patch, relay, season, shift, space, stint, streak, stretch, term, time, tour, tour of duty, trick, turn, while; concepts 807,817,822 spell [n2] magical aura over an… …   New thesaurus

  • Spell — Spell, v. i. 1. To form words with letters, esp. with the proper letters, either orally or in writing. [1913 Webster] When what small knowledge was, in them did dwell, And he a god, who could but read or spell. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. To study… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spell — 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spell — 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. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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