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Meaning of “spell” in the English Dictionary

"spell" in British English

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spellverb

uk   /spel/  us   /spel/
  • spell verb (FORM WORDS)

A2 [I or T] (spelled or UK also spelt, spelled or UK also spelt) to form a word or words with the letters in the correct order: How do you spell receive? Shakespeare did not always spell his own name the same way. Our address is 1520 Main Street, Albuquerque. Shall I spell that (out) (= say in the correct order the letters that form the word) for you? I think it's important that children should be taught to spell.

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  • spell verb (DO INSTEAD)

[T] (spelled, spelled) mainly US to do something that someone else would usually be doing, especially in order to allow them to rest: You've been driving for a while - do you want me to spell you?
Phrasal verbs

spellnoun [C]

uk   /spel/  us   /spel/
  • spell noun [C] (PERIOD)

a period of time for which an activity or condition lasts continuously: I lived in Cairo for a spell. She had a brief spell as captain of the team. I keep having/getting dizzy spells (= periods of feeling as if I'm turning around).
a short period of a particular type of weather: a spell of dry weather The weather forecast is for dry, sunny spells.

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  • spell noun [C] (MAGIC)

spoken words that are thought to have magical power, or (the condition of being under) the influence or control of such words: The witch cast/put a spell on the prince and he turned into a frog. A beautiful girl would have to kiss him to break (= stop) the spell. Sleeping Beauty lay under the wicked fairy's spell until the prince woke her with a kiss.
(Definition of spell from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"spell" in American English

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spellverb

 us   /spel/
  • spell verb (FORM WORDS)

[I/T] to form a word or words with the letters in the correct order: [I] As a child he never learned to spell. [T] Send it to Dr. Mikolajczyk – I’ll spell that name for you (= say the letters that form the word).
  • spell verb (RESULT)

[T] to have usually something unpleasant as a result: This cold weather could spell trouble for gardeners.

spellnoun [C]

 us   /spel/
  • spell noun [C] (PERIOD)

a period of time during which an activity or condition lasts: a spell of wet weather She lived in London for a short spell in the 1980s.
  • spell noun [C] (POWER)

a magic power produced by speaking a set of words or taking a specific set of actions: He was placed under a spell that could be broken only when the princess kissed him.
(Definition of spell from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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