Definition of “spell” - 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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Phrasal verb(s)

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)