spell

Definitions

  • "They burnt the Shakespeare, breaking the spell."
    "They burnt the Shakespeare, breaking the spell."
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v spell take turns working "the workers spell every four hours"
    • v spell indicate or signify "I'm afraid this spells trouble!"
    • v spell orally recite the letters of or give the spelling of "How do you spell this word?" "We had to spell out our names for the police officer"
    • v spell place under a spell
    • v spell write or name the letters that comprise the conventionally accepted form of (a word or part of a word) "He spelled the word wrong in this letter"
    • v spell relieve (someone) from work by taking a turn "She spelled her husband at the wheel"
    • n spell a verbal formula believed to have magical force "he whispered a spell as he moved his hands","inscribed around its base is a charm in Balinese"
    • n spell a psychological state induced by (or as if induced by) a magical incantation
    • n spell a period of indeterminate length (usually short) marked by some action or condition "he was here for a little while","I need to rest for a piece","a spell of good weather","a patch of bad weather"
    • n spell a time for working (after which you will be relieved by someone else) "it's my go","a spell of work"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

May practises her spelling with Tabby beside her May practises her spelling with Tabby beside her
A Spell for a fairy A Spell for a fairy
Pigs spelling Pigs spelling

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Cleveland spelled backwards is "DNA level C."
    • Spell A gratuitous helping forward of another's work; as, a logging spell .
    • n Spell A spelk, or splinter.
    • Spell 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."
    • Spell A story; a tale. "Hearken to my spell ."
    • Spell 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 ."
    • Spell 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."
    • Spell 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."
    • Spell To constitute; to measure. "The Saxon heptarchy, when seven kings put together did spell but one in effect."
    • Spell 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.""To sit spelling and observing divine justice upon every accident."
    • Spell 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 ."
    • Spell To put under the influence of a spell; to affect by a spell; to bewitch; to fascinate; to charm. "Spelled with words of power.""He was much spelled with Eleanor Talbot."
    • Spell 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."
    • v. t Spell To supply the place of for a time; to take the turn of, at work; to relieve; as, to spell the helmsman.
    • Spell 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."
    • Spell To tell; to relate; to teach. "Might I that legend find,
      By fairies spelt in mystic rhymes."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Racecar spelled backwards is racecar.
    • n spell A tale; story; narrative.
    • n spell Speech; word of mouth; direct address.
    • n spell A charm consisting of some words of supposed occult power; any form of words, whether written or spoken, supposed to be endowed with magical virtues; an incantation; hence, any means or cause of enchantment, literally or figuratively; a magical or an enthralling charm; a condition of enchantment; fascination; as, to cast a spell over a person; to be under a spell, or bound by a spell.
    • spell To tell; relate; teach; disclose.
    • spell To act as a spell upon; entrance; enthrall; fascinate; charm.
    • spell To imbue with magic properties.
    • spell To tell; tell a story; give an account.
    • spell To tell or set forth letter by letter; set down letter by letter; tell the letters of; form by or in letters.
    • spell To read letter by letter, or with laborious effort; hence, to discover by careful study; make out point by point: often with out or orer.
    • spell To constitute, as letters constitute a word; make up.
    • spell To form words with the proper letters, in either reading or writing; repeat or set down the letters of words.
    • spell To make a study; engage in careful contemplation of something.
    • spell To take the place of (another person) temporarily in doing something; take turns with; relieve for a time; give a rest to. Sometimes there are two ostensible boilers [slaves in charge of sugar-boiling] to spell and relieve one another.
    • n spell A turn of work or duty in place of another; an interval of relief by another person; an exchange of work and rest: as, to take one's regular spell; to work the pumps by spells.
    • n spell Hence. A continuous course of employment in work or duty; a turn of occupation between periods of rest; a bout.
    • n spell An interval of. rest or relaxation; a turn or period of relief from work; a resting-time.
    • n spell Any interval of time within definite limits; an unbroken term or period.
    • n spell A short period, indefinitely; an odd or occasional interval; an uncertain term; a while.
    • n spell A bad turn; an uncomfortable time; a period of personal ailment or ill feeling.
    • n spell A chip, splinter, or splint.
    • n spell In the game of nur-and-spell, the steel spring by which the nur is thrown into the air.
    • n spell One of the transverse pieces at the bottom of a chair which strengthen and keep together the legs.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The smallest number spelled with an "a" is one thousand.
    • n Spell spel any form of words supposed to possess magical power: fascination
    • v.t Spell to tell or name the letters of: to name, write, or print the proper letters of
    • v.i Spell to form words with the proper letters: to study:—pr.p. spell′ing; pa.t. and pa.p. spelled, spelt
    • v.t Spell spel to take another's place at work
    • pr.p Spell spell′ing; pa.t. and pa.p. spelled
    • n Spell a turn at work: a short period indefinitely: an interval of rest: a bad turn
    • ***

Quotations

  • George Sand
    George%20Sand
    “The beauty that addresses itself to the eyes is only the spell of the moment; the eye of the body is not always that of the soul.”
  • Norman Vincent Peale
    Norman%20Vincent%20Peale
    “There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Evil spelled backward is live.”
  • Andrew Jackson
    Andrew%20Jackson
    “It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.”
  • James Fenton
    James Fenton
    “The lullaby is the spell whereby the mother attempts to transform herself back from an ogre to a saint.”
  • Eric Hoffer
    Eric%20Hoffer
    “To spell out the obvious is often to call it in question.”

Idioms

Dry spell - If something or someone is having a dry spell, they aren't being as successful as they normally are.
***
Good spell - A spell can mean a fairly or relatively short period of time; you'll hear weather forecasts predict a dry spell. Sports commentators will say that a sportsperson is going through a good spell when they're performing consistently better than they normally do.
***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. spellen, spellien, tell, relate, AS. spellian, fr. spell, a saying, tale; akin to MHG. spellen, to relate, Goth. spilln,.e Spell a tale. In sense 4 and those following, OE. spellen, perhaps originally a different word, and from or influenced by spell, a splinter, from the use of a piece of wood to point to the letters in schools: cf. D. spellen, to spell. Cf. Spell splinter

Usage

In literature:

He broke the spell; she sank from the poet into the embarrassed woman.
"Robert Elsmere" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
Then a magic spell overpowered her, and she swam on and on vainly seeking to rise above the waters, but always unable to do so.
"Finnish Legends for English Children" by R. Eivind
The spell that holds it fast is the all-potent spell of the Wizard of the Cave.
"The Shadow Witch" by Gertrude Crownfield
It was a class in spelling.
"Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Arkansas Narratives, Part 4" by Work Projects Administration
I am one of little note, and my name not worth the spelling.
"Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 2 (of 2)" by John Roby
It was Saturday noon, and the fourth class was spelling.
"Little Grandfather" by Sophie May
I never heard a word spelled in that way.
"In The Boyhood of Lincoln" by Hezekiah Butterworth
So I think I'd better learn that summoning spell first.
"Zeta Exchange" by Ann Wilson
During this, their first spell by the trail, Stonor was highly amused to watch Clare's way with Mary.
"The Woman from Outside" by Hulbert Footner
Spelling gave him more trouble.
"Lola" by Henny Kindermann
When the Stir-about Wife saw this mournful sight she wept, because her beautiful spell, which she was about to finish, was quite spoiled.
"The Book of Stories for the Storyteller" by Fanny E. Coe
It held every silent listener in a spell.
"The Clansman" by Thomas Dixon
I'm willing to meet any sum you stack up against me, if it's large enough to spell action.
"Desert Dust" by Edwin L. Sabin
The captain was laboriously spelling out the scare-head articles by the flickering firelight.
"The Boy Chums in the Forest" by Wilmer M. Ely
You have neither sons nor husbands that you should ask spells and charms.
"The Arrow-Maker" by Mary Austin
There have been plenty of ways of spelling Bisley.
"Highways and Byways in Surrey" by Eric Parker
I heard he had a sinkin' spell yestiday.
"Anderson Crow, Detective" by George Barr McCutcheon
This farm was left to my father by Lorimer Spell because my father saved Spell's life on a battlefield in France.
"The Rover Boys in the Land of Luck" by Edward Stratemeyer
Law me, I guess old Dr. Bass, what was doctor for Marse John, use to be right busy with us 'bout once a year for quite a spell.
"Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves." by Work Projects Administration
It seemed almost worth going through the bad spell, just for the sake of the contrast.
"The Recipe for Diamonds" by Charles John Cutcliffe Wright Hyne
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In poetry:

"She charms him with her great blue eyes,
She binds him with her hair;
Oh, break the spell with holy words,
Unbind him with a prayer!"
"The Witch of Wenham" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Not alone do thy glorious sunsets,
Nor thy trees of a thousand dyes,
But all touch my heart with thy sweet spell,
Oh, earth, and air, and skies.
"October" by Sallie Williams Hardcastle
Well, be it so !—the charm is o'er
Which long hath bound me with its spell;
My thoughts shall never waken more
In tenderness for thee—Farewell!
"Yes Leave Me" by Eliza Acton
I could have loved you -- oh, so well! --
The dream, that wishing boyhood knows,
Is but a bright, beguiling spell,
That only lives while passion glows.
"Why I Loved You" by Thomas Moore
I have lost the spell that my verse could weave
O'er the souls of the old and young,
And never again -- how it makes me grieve --
Shall I sing as once I sung.
"A Christmas Chant" by Abram Joseph Ryan
See--the gold and blue of our yesterday
In the eyes and the hair of a child at play;
And the spell of joy that our youth beguiled
Is woven anew in the laugh of the child.
"The Old Magic" by Edith Nesbit

In news:

Fainting Spells Often Tied to Too Many Meds at Once: Study.
Barring a successful appeal, a ruling Wednesday spells the end to the Authors Guild's claims related to HathiTrust--a massive digitization project involving Google Inc and a group of university libraries.
So whenever I go about hiring a new reporter (or any job at Snyder Communications), we always administer a spelling test.
Every year we wait for the monsoon season to come and beat the heat of summer's spell.
During the midst of my misguided poor-artist spell I went to Whole Foods to do what many vagabond people rave about: grazing for a meal.
Spelling's husband is holding their daughter Stella.
Just ask celeb mom Tori Spelling.
Red glitter spelled out S-A-N-T-A on one side of the signs, which they continued to take to the parade in the years after.
Matusevich says the gnats were expected to depart by November, but warm spells have kept them around.
It seems the only time Bill Long uses his kitchen is to prepare foods he can't spell.
Alcoa Rotary takes first place in Spelling Bee.
Zerban supporters spell his name in lights on a bridge in Walworth County, Wisconsin.
In plain English, what such messages usually spell is trouble, and, where a computer is equipped with a hard drive , quite often that's where the trouble lies.
Cast a spell — that is what movies (at least nondocumentary ones) are or were supposed to do, and yet how often do they achieve that aim today.
The letters on the license plate to Rod Reprogle's 2003 Chevy Silverado SS spell out RODSTOY.
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In science:

First, we spell out the reduction semantics of type-preserving combinators, and we formalise the corresponding generic type TP.
Typed Generic Traversal With Term Rewriting Strategies
Here we repeat essentially the same argument and spell out it in the d = 2 case with the appropriate modifications, using Lemma 2.2.
Maximal local time of a d-dimensional simple random walk on subsets
This section spells out some further corollaries of Theorem 3.
Regenerative partition structures
Next, after spelling out (2.1), reducing the (apparently longer) list of equations to a minimal one, and then writing and organizing them in a convenient way, we arrive at the following (in local coordinates, the equations bellow also appear in ).
Generalized complex structures and Lie brackets
This expansion can be spelled down physically as follows.
Can one tell Einstein's unimodular theory from Einstein's general relativity?
Furthermore, we shall spell out what our results say about many specific models that have been studied previously.
The phase transition in inhomogeneous random graphs
Takibaev for useful arguing of outcomes, constant attention and help with a spelling of the given work.
About Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking in the Field Theory with Fundamental Mass
In the sequel we will not spell out the details of this.
Genericity in Topological Dynamics
In this section we spell out what Theorem 1.1 says in the case where the Gaction on A is very tame.
Tame group actions on central simple algebras
The purpose of this section is to spell out what Theorem 1.3 tells us for S = Sτ ⊂ PGLn .
Tame group actions on central simple algebras
This part is not spelled out in the present paper, but summarized in a theorem we quote from our earlier article .
Quenched invariance principle for multidimensional ballistic random walk in a random environment with a forbidden direction
We spell out enough of the argument to show how to adapt that proof to the present case.
Almost sure functional central limit theorem for non-nestling random walk in random environment
An analogue of the previous proposition, which we will not spell out, shows that ( ¯Yk )k≥1 is a Markov chain with transition ¯q(x, y ) = P0 ⊗ Px [ ¯X ¯ρ1 − Xρ1 = y | β = ¯β = ∞].
Almost sure functional central limit theorem for non-nestling random walk in random environment
The relationship between these invariants and the Alexander polynomial is spelled out in the following: Theorem 1.1.
Floer homology and singular knots
This can happen if and only if the subset Q(cid:48) of the domain defining the pro jection satisfies the condition spelled out in the next definition. 15 Definition.
Projections of a learning space
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