spell


spell
spell1
spellable, adj.
/spel/, v., spelled or spelt, spelling.
v.t.
1. to name, write, or otherwise give the letters, in order, of (a word, syllable, etc.): Did I spell your name right?
2. (of letters) to form (a word, syllable, etc.): The letters spelled a rather rude word.
3. to read letter by letter or with difficulty (often fol. by out): She painfully spelled out the message.
4. to discern or find, as if by reading or study (often fol. by out).
5. to signify; amount to: This delay spells disaster for us.
v.i.
6. to name, write, or give the letters of words, syllables, etc.: He spells poorly.
7. to express words by letters, esp. correctly.
8. spell down, to outspell others in a spelling match.
9. spell out,
a. to explain something explicitly, so that the meaning is unmistakable: Must I spell it out for you?
b. to write out in full or enumerate the letters of which a word is composed: The title "Ph.D." is seldom spelled out.
[1250-1300; ME spellen < OF espeller < Gmc; cf. OE spellian to talk, announce (deriv. of spell SPELL2), OHG -spellon, ON spjalla, Goth spillon]
Syn. 5. foretell, portend, mean, promise.
spell2
spellful, adj.spell-like, adj.
/spel/, n.
1. a word, phrase, or form of words supposed to have magic power; charm; incantation: The wizard cast a spell.
2. a state or period of enchantment: She was under a spell.
3. any dominating or irresistible influence; fascination: the spell of fine music.
[bef. 900; ME spell, OE: discourse; c. OHG spel, ON spjall, Goth spill tale; see SPELL1, GOSPEL]
spell3
/spel/, n.
1. a continuous course or period of work or other activity: to take a spell at the wheel.
2. a turn of work so taken.
3. a turn, bout, fit, or period of anything experienced or occurring: a spell of coughing.
4. an indefinite interval or space of time: Come visit us for a spell.
5. a period of weather of a specified kind: a hot spell.
6. Australian. a rest period.
7. Archaic. a person or set of persons taking a turn of work to relieve another.
v.t.
8. to take the place of for a time; relieve: Let me spell you at the wheel.
9. Australian. to declare or give a rest period to.
v.i.
10. Australian. to have or take a rest period.
[1585-95; (v.) alter. of earlier spele to stand instead of, relieve, spare, ME spelen, OE spelian; akin to OE spala, gespelia a substitute; (n.) akin to the v. (perh. continuing OE gespelia)]
Syn. 4. while, bit, piece.

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magic
      words uttered in a set formula with magical (magic) intent. The correct recitation, often with accompanying gestures, is considered to unleash supernatural power. Some societies believe that incorrect recitation can not only nullify the magic but cause the death of the practitioner.

      The language of spells is sometimes archaic and is not always understood by the reciter. In some cases meaningless but familiar terms are believed to be efficacious because of their traditional value. Much magical language, however, is clearly and directly correlated with the aim of the recital. In symbolic statement by analogy it represents and foreshadows the technical achievement, and metaphor and simile are freely used. An example is a Maori spell giving speed and grace to a canoe, which speaks of the swiftness of a bird on the wing and the lightness of a sea gull and which uses such onomatopoeic effects as speed noises or the wailing of the sea.

      In blessings and curses, which are similar types of verbal expressions, the efficacy of the recitation is also believed to be connected to the magical power of the words themselves or to the sacred power of a supernatural being. Certain gestures as well as words may be bound up with the act of blessing, as in putting one's hands on the head of the person being blessed. The curse, a wish to cause harm or misfortune, is usually directed against others, although an important form of curse, associated with oaths, contracts, and treaties, is conditionally directed against oneself, should one fail to keep one's word or tell the truth.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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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