What does spell mean?

Definitions for spell

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word spell.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. enchantment, spell, trance(noun)

    a psychological state induced by (or as if induced by) a magical incantation

  2. go, spell, tour, turn(noun)

    a time for working (after which you will be relieved by someone else)

    "it's my go"; "a spell of work"

  3. while, piece, spell, patch(noun)

    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"

  4. spell, magic spell, magical spell, charm(verb)

    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"

  5. spell, spell out(verb)

    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"

  6. spell, import(verb)

    indicate or signify

    "I'm afraid this spells trouble!"

  7. spell, write(verb)

    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"

  8. spell(verb)

    relieve (someone) from work by taking a turn

    "She spelled her husband at the wheel"

  9. spell(verb)

    place under a spell

  10. spell(verb)

    take turns working

    "the workers spell every four hours"

Webster Dictionary

  1. Spell(noun)

    a spelk, or splinter

  2. Spell(verb)

    to supply the place of for a time; to take the turn of, at work; to relieve; as, to spell the helmsman

  3. Spell(noun)

    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

  4. Spell(noun)

    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

  5. Spell(noun)

    one of two or more persons or gangs who work by spells

  6. Spell(noun)

    a gratuitous helping forward of another's work; as, a logging spell

  7. Spell(noun)

    a story; a tale

  8. Spell(noun)

    a stanza, verse, or phrase supposed to be endowed with magical power; an incantation; hence, any charm

  9. Spell(verb)

    to tell; to relate; to teach

  10. Spell(verb)

    to put under the influence of a spell; to affect by a spell; to bewitch; to fascinate; to charm

  11. Spell(verb)

    to constitute; to measure

  12. Spell(verb)

    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

  13. Spell(verb)

    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

  14. Spell(verb)

    to form words with letters, esp. with the proper letters, either orally or in writing

  15. Spell(verb)

    to study by noting characters; to gain knowledge or learn the meaning of anything, by study

  16. Origin: [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.]


  1. Spell

    Spell was a collaboration between Rose McDowall and Boyd Rice. The two cover a number of songs from the 1960s and 1970s, often modifying the lyrics to make them darker. For instance the line in the original song Seasons in the Sun: "Goodbye Papa, please pray for me" becomes "Goodbye Papa, don't pray for me". Several references to Hell and death are added as well.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Spell

    spel, n. any form of words supposed to possess magical power: fascination.—v.t. to tell or name the letters of: to name, write, or print the proper letters of.—v.i. to form words with the proper letters: to study:—pr.p. spell′ing; pa.t. and pa.p. spelled, spelt.—adjs. Spell′able, capable of being spelled; Spell′-bound, Spell′-stopped (Shak.), entranced, fascinated.—ns. Spell′er, one who spells: one skilled in spelling; Spell′ing, act of spelling or naming the letters of words: orthography; Spell′ing-bee, a competition in spelling; Spell′ing-book, a book for teaching to spell; Spell′-work, that which is wrought by spells or charms: power of magic.—Spell backward, to spell, repeat, or arrange in reverse order: to understand in a contrary sense: to turn wrong-side out, misconstrue one's qualities; Spell baker, to do something difficult, that word being one of the earliest dissyllables in children's books. [A.S. spell, a narrative; Goth. spill, Ice. spjall, a tale.]

  2. Spell

    spel, v.t. to take another's place at work:—pr.p. spell′ing; pa.t. and pa.p. spelled.—n. a turn at work: a short period indefinitely: an interval of rest: a bad turn. [A.S. spelian, to act for another; cf. Dut. spelen, Ger. spielen, to play.]

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. spell

    Syn. incantation.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. spell

    The period wherein one or more sailors are employed in particular duties demanding continuous exertion. Such are the spells to the hand-lead in sounding, to working the pumps, to look out on the mast-head, &c., and to steer the ship, which last is generally called the "trick at the wheel." Spel-ian, Anglo-Saxon, "to supply another's room." Thus, Spell ho! is the call for relief.

Suggested Resources

  1. spell

    Song lyrics by spell -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by spell on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'spell' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1826

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'spell' in Nouns Frequency: #2019

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'spell' in Verbs Frequency: #711

How to pronounce spell?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say spell in sign language?

  1. spell


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of spell in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of spell in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of spell in a Sentence

  1. Will Rogers:

    Nothing you can't spell will ever work.

  2. Frank Lloyd Wright:

    I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.

  3. Paul Allgood:

    I believe in God, only I spell it N-A-T-U-R-E

  4. Allison Closs:

    You can’t spell “memories” without “memes.”

  5. Ezio Auditore da Firenze:

    you can't spell assassin without sin and twice the ass.

Images & Illustrations of spell

  1. spellspellspellspellspell

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for spell

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • تهجئ, تعويذةArabic
  • conjur, embruixament, encantament, encís, lletrejarCatalan, Valencian
  • kouzlo, hláskovat, tvořitCzech
  • staveDanish
  • Zauberspruch, Periode, Zauber, Zeitdauer, buchstabieren, Zauberformel, Weile, Zauberwort, Weilchen, bedeuten, klarmachen, abwechselnGerman
  • ξόρκι, περίοδος, [[γράφω]] [[ορθογραφημένα]], συνεπάγομαιGreek
  • literumi, sorĉoEsperanto
  • hechizo, período, brujería, pataleta, encantamiento, deletrear, descifrar, encanto, rato, conjuro, berrinche, anunciar, presagiarSpanish
  • loits, veerimaEstonian
  • lumous, purkaus, kirous, tietää, loitsu, jakso, tavata, muodostaa, merkitä, selventää, korvata, tuurata, sijainenFinnish
  • maléfice, épeler, charme, sortFrench
  • litrigh, tamallIrish
  • ùine, litrichScottish Gaelic
  • אייתHebrew
  • जादूHindi
  • helyesírás, betűzHungarian
  • հեգել, բառ կազմելArmenian
  • indicar, formula magic, incantamento, orthographiar, componer, intervallo, relevarInterlingua
  • mantraIndonesian
  • galdraþula, stafa, álögIcelandic
  • fattura, maledizione, sillabare, sortilegio, incantesimo, formula magica, maleficio, compitare, presagire, vaticinareItalian
  • 綴るJapanese
  • ასოების დასახელება, დამარცვლით კითხვა, სიტყვების შედგენაGeorgian
  • ប្រកបKhmer
  • 의미하다, 마력, 한동안, 철자, 주문, 한참Korean
  • cantio, incantatio, incantamentum, fascinum, veneficium, conscribo, fascinatio, effascinatio, cantamenLatin
  • үсэглэхMongolian
  • spellen, betekenen, toverspreuk, betoveringDutch
  • besvergelse, formel, stave, trylleformelNorwegian
  • czar, zaklęcie, urok, przeliterowaćPolish
  • encantamento, intervalo, feitiço, soletrar, vaticinar, encanto, prever, pressagiar, renderPortuguese
  • farmec, descântec, se scrie, indica, vrajă, interval, descântătură, litera, rosti, clarifica, înlocuiRomanian
  • буква, писать, заклинание, произноситьRussian
  • sricatiSerbo-Croatian
  • urok, črkovatiSlovene
  • trollformel, besvärjelse, stava, betydaSwedish
  • สะกดThai
  • büyü, tılsım, hecelemek, harflerini söylemekTurkish
  • заклина́ння, ча́ри, закля́ттяUkrainian
  • đánh vầnVietnamese

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  • Swedish Svenska (Swedish)
  • Danish Dansk (Danish)
  • Finnish Suomi (Finnish)
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  • Yiddish ייִדיש (Yiddish)
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"spell." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 8 Dec. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/spell>.

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