Definition for SPELL

SPELL, v.t. [pret. and pp. spelled or spelt. Sax. spellian, spelligan, to tell, to narrate, to discourse, which gives our sense of spell in reading letters; spelian, speligan, to take another's turn in labor; D. spellen, to spell, as words; Fr. epeler.]

  1. To tell or name the letters of a word, with a proper division of syllables, for the purpose of learning the pronunciation. In this manner children learn to read by first spelling the words.
  2. To write or print with the proper letters; to form words by correct orthography. The word satire ought to be spelled with i, and not with y. – Dryden.
  3. To take another's place or turn temporarily in any labor or service. [This is a popular use of the word in New England.]
  4. To charm; as, spelled with words of power. – Dryden.
  5. To read; to discover by characters or marks; write out; as, to spell out the sense of an author. – Milton. We are not left to spell out a God in the works of creation. – South.
  6. To tell; to relate; to teach. [Not in use.] – Wotton.

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