Definition of Spell

n.1.A spelk, or splinter.
v. t.1.To supply the place of for a time; to take the turn of, at work; to relieve; as, to spell the helmsman.
[imp. & p. p. Spelled ; p. pr. & vb. n. Spelling.]
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.
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.
1.A story; a tale.
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.
v. t.1.To tell; to relate; to teach.
[imp. & p. p. Spelled ( ) or Spelt ( ); p. pr. & vb. n. Spelling.]
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.
He was much spelled with Eleanor Talbot.
- Sir G. Buck.
3.To constitute; to measure.
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.
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.
Where I may sit and rightly spell
Of every star that heaven doth shew,
And every herb that sips the dew.
- Milton.

Related Words

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Spelling bee
Spelling book
Spelling match
Spencer mast
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