spell

n.

  1. A spelk, or splinter.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. One of two or more persons or gangs who work by spells.
  5. A gratuitous helping forward of another's work; as, a logging spell.
  6. A story; a tale.
  7. A stanza, verse, or phrase supposed to be endowed with magical power; an incantation; hence, any charm.

v. t.

  1. To supply the place of for a time; to take the turn of, at work; to relieve; as, to spell the helmsman.
  2. To tell; to relate; to teach.
  3. To put under the influence of a spell; to affect by a spell; to bewitch; to fascinate; to charm.
  4. To constitute; to measure.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

v. i.

  1. To form words with letters, esp. with the proper letters, either orally or in writing.
  2. To study by noting characters; to gain knowledge or learn the meaning of anything, by study.