Main definitions of spell in English

: spell1spell2spell3spell4

spell1

See synonyms for spell

Translate spell into Spanish

transitive verbpast participle verb spelled, mainly British past participle verb spelt

[with object]
  • 1Write or name the letters that form (a word) in correct sequence.

    ‘Dolly spelled her name’
    • ‘journals have a house style about how to spell’

    Video: a look at spell

    1. 1.1(of letters) make up or form (a word)
      • ‘the letters spell the word ‘how’’
  • 2Be a sign or characteristic of.

    • ‘she had the chic, efficient look that spells Milan’
    1. 2.1Mean or have as a result.
      • ‘the plans would spell disaster for the economy’
      lead to, result in, bring about, bring on, cause, be the cause of
      View synonyms

Pronunciation

spell

/spel/ /spɛl/

Phrasal Verbs

    spell out
    • 1spell something out, spell out somethingSpeak the letters that form a word in sequence.

      ‘he spelled out his name for the clerk’
      • ‘I was communicating by spelling things out on a letter board.’
      • ‘At this rate, I would be surprised if she started spelling the words out for us.’
      • ‘Sarah practically spelled the words out to him and he showed no signs of knowing what the hell she was talking about.’
      • ‘I spelled the words out for my dad, but he didn't know what they meant either.’
      • ‘She spelt the word out in her head, but sometimes it turned into farther.’
      • ‘After we talked about each of the words, we spelled them out loud.’
      1. 1.1Explain something in detail.
        ‘I'll spell out the problem again’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The research questions are spelled out in a very specific way.’
        • ‘Who needs conspiracy theories when things are spelt out as clearly as this?’
        • ‘This is the first time many of these steps have been spelled out publicly.’
        • ‘But laser eye surgery has caused controversy because of claims that the risks are not spelt out to consumers.’
        • ‘The ads urged viewers to visit a website set up especially for the campaign, where the message was spelt out even further.’
        • ‘It is important that certain facts are spelt out to the public.’
        • ‘Everyone knew rumours were going around and the company had promised to be honest with us, but the true situation wasn't spelt out in time.’

Origin

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

Main definitions of spell in English

: spell1spell2spell3spell4

spell2

See synonyms for spell

Translate spell into Spanish

noun

  • 1A form of words used as a magical charm or incantation.

    ‘a spell is laid on the door to prevent entry’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We will be accumulating success in word spells and practicing the pronunciation of the difficult language Char.’
    • ‘But how could one concentrate on words for creating spells when another mutter curses on you?’
    • ‘Yet, she struggled to remember the word to the spell.’
    • ‘She began to chant the words for the earthquake spell.’
    • ‘Papers were scattered everywhere, and he muttered the words to a small spell and they quickly floated into a neat stack in the center or the desktop.’
    • ‘Whispering the last word of the spell, he tapped the picture.’
    • ‘I glared at the woman, who shut up pretty quickly, then placed my hands on either side of the small circle, muttering the words of a spell.’
    • ‘She then said the final words to her spell and pointed to Tona.’
    • ‘Immediately, the High Cleric began chanting a spell, her words echoed throughout the room in each syllable.’
    • ‘She ducked under another sword as she spoke the words of a spell.’
    • ‘It sounded nasty, but I didn't know if it was a spell or a swear word.’
    • ‘She finally shouted out the final word of her spell, and it was gone.’
    • ‘She uttered a few words of a spell, and, with a small flash, disappeared.’
    • ‘Sarah had asked the shopkeeper, and been dismayed to learn that although she knew some basic spells, that woman who tended the herb shop wasn't really a Spellcaster.’
    • ‘All they talk about are spells and famous mages.’
    • ‘I suspect that he was the one to teach you fire spells.’
    • ‘Any spell you could ever want to find is in this book.’
    incantation, charm, conjuration, rune, magic formula
    View synonyms

    Video: a look at spell

    1. 1.1A state of enchantment caused by a magic spell.
      ‘the magician may cast a spell on himself’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I cast a spell on us right before I drifted off to sleep.’
      • ‘I cast a spell on you when your father died: I bound your powers so that you will only receive them when you're 18.’
      • ‘Luckily I cast a spell on the clothes so you can't take them off.’
      • ‘Klynan cast a spell on the rocks and they turned red and burned.’
      • ‘Following her into the Buddhist temple and into the Yellow Dragon Cave, the Supervisor seems to cast a spell on her.’
      • ‘Raven had cast a spell on them, killing them with the fire of hell.’
      • ‘The figure cast a spell on Adrian, Beltrax, and Talia, teleporting them to an alcove within the dungeon.’
      • ‘Shawna and I have switched bodies because your sister cast a spell on me.’
      • ‘It felt like she had cast a spell on him, entrancing and beckoning him.’
      • ‘She cast a spell on you secretly so that you would be under her control.’
      • ‘I was looking for the witch that cast a spell on the beautiful princess of this land.’
      • ‘She had said that a long time ago a witch had cast a spell on this place.’
      • ‘He was almost contented when Maura cast a spell on the gates, giving them even more strength.’
      • ‘It was perfectly safe; he had cast a spell on the fireball so it wouldn't burn anybody.’
      • ‘He had also heard rumors of how she would cast a spell on the men she met, forever binding them to her will.’
      • ‘Only her father knew, but told no one since she had cast a spell on him to keep her secrets.’
      • ‘Then she cast a spell on me to make me float in the air, and she hovered right near me.’
    2. 1.2An ability to control or influence people as though one had magical power over them.
      ‘she is afraid that you are waking from her spell’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It made hardly any difference; the participants fell under the same spell of this situational power.’
      • ‘He holds a formidable spell over Esperanza and controls her until she wises up and leaves him to pursue her career.’
      • ‘Once again, he proved that age and disease have not robbed him of the magic to cast a spell on listeners with his poems.’
      • ‘He stood there stupidly, under the spell of that single word.’
      irresistible influence, fascination, magnetism, animal magnetism, charisma, allure, lure, charm, attraction, pull, draw, enticement, beguilement
      View synonyms

Pronunciation

spell

/spel/ /spɛl/

Phrases

    under a spell
    • Not fully in control of one's thoughts and actions, as though in a state of enchantment.

      ‘the beauty of the land put me under a spell’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her heart is racing - she feels like she's under a spell.’
      • ‘The soft music continued to blare from the small stereo that she owned, the symphony sounding brilliant and almost hypnotic, taking Eva under a spell.’
      • ‘As if under a spell or hypnotized, she couldn't escape.’
      • ‘I just stood there staring dumbly like someone under a spell.’
      • ‘He slid to the ground silently, almost as if he were under a spell.’
      • ‘All she had to do was smile, and Alex would be completely taken away, more like captivated under a spell.’
      • ‘He looked back at Eugene who seemed to be under a spell and thoughts rushed through his mind.’
    under someone's spell
    • So devoted to someone that they seem to have magic power over one.

      ‘throughout her long life people fell under her spell’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Maybe she had used her evil powers of seduction to draw him under her spell.’
      • ‘If you aren't involved, don't be surprised if you pull someone new and exciting under your spell!’
      • ‘Do you think they really are magicians casting us under their spell?’
      • ‘And I fell under their spell, and stopped worrying about rehearsals.’
      • ‘He was an aquaintence of the couple with an obsessive nature and had fallen under Seward 's spell.’
      • ‘When you're under a boy 's spell, it's not always easy to break.’
      • ‘Bollywood's over-the-top high jinks have fascinated audiences from the Far East to the Middle East to Russia, and now even the West is coming under its spell.’

Origin

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

Main definitions of spell in English

: spell1spell2spell3spell4

spell3

See synonyms for spell

Translate spell into Spanish

noun

  • 1A short period.

    ‘I want to get away from racing for a spell’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Their split when she was just 19 left her with nervous exhaustion and prompted a short spell in a psychiatric ward.’
    • ‘He also played factory leagues in Clare and Limerick while working in those counties for a short spell.’
    • ‘Too many clubs have been put on hold for long periods and then asked to play a number of games within a short spell.’
    • ‘His early career was interrupted by various short spells in prison for violent behaviour.’
    • ‘There is no point in condemning victims of drugs and crime to short spells in prison, only to have them come out in the same predicament as before.’
    • ‘I did have a few games on the wing there but only for short spells.’
    • ‘He said that judges should encourage community sentences in place of short spells in prison.’
    • ‘After a short spell in what is now the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he joined the BBC in 1941, staying till he retired in 1975.’
    • ‘Apart from a short spell in the opening half, Ireland never looked like scoring a try, where as the English crossed the Irish line five times.’
    • ‘A short spell for Parnells in Dublin was the only break between 1973 and 1996.’
    • ‘After a short spell on a high dose you should start to feel better - but you might have to continue taking a low maintenance dose for several months or even longer.’
    • ‘During my short spell in this job I have come across plenty of it.’
    • ‘Her husband was arrested and spent only a short spell in prison.’
    • ‘The Danish prison system allows those serving short sentences to be released for short spells.’
    • ‘It doesn't happen very much and usually only lasts for a short spell.’
    • ‘He took a draught of his beer and thought for a short spell.’
    • ‘The execution of his brother, his long spells in emigration, and the failure of the old-type revolutionaries all contributed to this difference.’
    period, time, interval, season, stretch, run, course, round, span, streak
    View synonyms

    Video: a look at spell

    1. 1.1A period spent in an activity.
      ‘a spell of greenhouse work’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Time to have the tissues on stand by to dab, what we reckon, will be a short spell of weeping in the company of Liszt.’
      • ‘After a short spell doing odd jobs in New Plymouth, Stan's father landed a plum job in south Taranaki.’
      • ‘In April, 1986, after a short spell managing a pub in Finglas, north Dublin, the Nevins opened Jack White's.’
      • ‘It was then that he began a six-year spell working full-time on Socialist Worker.’
      • ‘The second half produced some excellent spells of crisp passing from Town, but defences dominated.’
      stint, turn, stretch, session, term
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2A period of a specified kind of weather.
      ‘an early cold spell in autumn’
      • ‘During this very cold spell of weather, parishioners are asked to be a good neighbour and call in and keep an eye on senior citizens, especially those living alone in the parish.’
      • ‘Despite being in the middle of fall, New York City had taken to a spell of cold weather that threatened to bring snow early.’
      • ‘During this current cold spell of weather do check on your neighbour - you may be in a position to help them in some small way.’
      • ‘In the past elderly tenants had died during cold spells of weather.’
      • ‘And we have been having a bizarre weather spell lately.’
      • ‘A long unprecedented spell of dry weather has been broken at last.’
      • ‘Making the most of this fine spell of weather, students have already enjoyed two trips to nearby woods where great fun was had by all.’
      • ‘If we get another spell of wet weather this summer, I recommend it as an escape.’
      • ‘In fact he has been very busy over the past couple of weekends due to the unexpected good spell of weather.’
      • ‘With the recent spell of cool wet weather, poor stands are becoming evident in some soybean fields.’
      • ‘If an excessive amount does emerge, wait for another cold spell.’
      • ‘Water regularly during dry spells and spread mulch around plants to keep roots cool and moist.’
      • ‘Raised beds do warm up faster, but if you raise the beds more than a couple inches, they will require more water during dry spells.’
      • ‘Patience is a virtue demonstrated by the old-timers in our mountain valley, who are less likely to hurry to plant even during unusual warm spells.’
      • ‘Most need watering for the first year or two, then an occasional watering during dry spells.’
      • ‘But the sudden, heavy rain that broke a dry spell cracked open whole clusters of cherry tomatoes.’
      • ‘You may know exactly how much to water the plant but if you have a rainy spell it could be the demise of the mini garden that has no drainage system.’
      • ‘Crops, farms and forests would all be affected by these dry spells, leading to the possibility that some species may struggle to adapt to these new living conditions.’
      • ‘Though the short spell of summer rain in the city had on Monday night helped to bring down the heat to some extent, the mercury level soared during the morning hours.’
      • ‘Officials say steady rain, warm conditions and only short dry spells are combining to wreck the quality of both cereals and oil seed rape.’
    3. 1.3A period of suffering from a specified kind of illness.
      ‘she plunges off a yacht and suffers a spell of amnesia’
      • ‘Your hospital insurance provides 60 days of fully covered hospital care, per spell of illness, after you have met a deductible.’
      • ‘Sadly however Paddy has passed away last week after a spell of illness and will join his brother in that Lilywhite stand in the sky for Sundays Leinster final.’
      • ‘He tirelessly promotes and fund raises for the club and despite a spell of serious illness, remained involved and totally dedicated.’
      • ‘It is nice to hear that Bridie is back to health after a recent spell of illness and all her family and friends wish her a very happy birthday.’
      • ‘In July 1999 he began suffering dizzy spells, resulting in loss of balance, and painful headaches.’
      • ‘Burkhard composed prolifically in spite of spells of illness.’
      • ‘Each morning she suffered nauseous spells and spent nearly the whole morning with her head in a chamber pot because of it.’
      • ‘Since the accident, which happened outside her home in Brook Street, Erith, the mum-of-one suffers from dizzy spells and reduced vision.’
      • ‘Mr Chorlton and Rogerson had to be freed from the cab by firefighters and Mr Chorlton still suffered sporadic spells of dizziness, said Mr Humphries.’
      • ‘Although he has regained much of his balance and co-ordination, he still suffers lapses in speech and hearing and can suffer dizzy spells.’
      • ‘He experienced considerable headaches, loss of short-term and new memory, loss of concentration and dizzy spells.’
      • ‘It is known that Albert has recently been experiencing dizzy spells and fainting fits, but he has not sought medical treatment.’
    4. 1.4Australian, New Zealand A period of rest from work.
      ‘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.’

Pronunciation

spell

/spel/ /spɛl/

transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1mainly North American Allow (someone) to rest briefly by taking their place in some activity.

    ‘I got sleepy and needed her to spell me for a while at the wheel’
    • ‘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. 1.1Australian, New Zealand no object Take a brief rest.
      • ‘I'll spell for a bit’

Pronunciation

spell

/spel/ /spɛl/

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’.

Main definitions of spell in English

: spell1spell2spell3spell4

spell4

See synonyms for spell

Translate spell into Spanish

noun

  • A splinter of wood.

    Video: a look at spell

Pronunciation

spell

/spel/ /spɛl/

Origin

Late Middle English perhaps a variant of obsolete speld ‘chip, splinter’.