AskDefine | Define spell

Dictionary Definition



1 a psychological state induced by (or as if induced by) a magical incantation [syn: enchantment, trance]
2 a time for working (after which you will be relieved by someone else); "it's my go"; "a spell of work" [syn: go, tour, turn]
3 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" [syn: while, piece, patch]
4 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" [syn: magic spell, charm]


1 recite the letters of or give the spelling of; "How do you spell this word?"
2 indicate or signify; "I'm afraid this spells trouble!" [syn: import]
3 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" [syn: write]
4 place under a spell [ant: unspell] [also: spelt]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • , /spɛl/, /spEl/
  • Rhymes with: -ɛl

Etymology 1

etyl ang spel


  1. words or a formula supposed to have magical powers; a magical incantation.
    he cast a spell to cure warts.
  2. a magical effect induced by an incantation or formula.
  3. a relatively short period of time of indeterminate length.
    We’re in the midst of a cold spell.
    He had a spell of bad luck.
    under a spell
  4. a mild or momentary emotional outburst; a fit, a tantrum; a moment.
  5. a petit mal
  6. an uninterrupted series of alternate overs bowled by a single bowler
  7. In the context of "horseracing": time off from competition
magical incantation
magical effect induced by an incantation
short period of time of indeterminate length

Etymology 2

etyl ang spelian


  1. to comprise a word, as the letters “a”, “n” and “d” spell “and”.
  2. to write or say the letters that form a word or part of a word.
  3. to mean, indicate or signify
    This spells trouble.
  4. to work in place of someone else; to relieve.
Related terms
to comprise a word
to write or say the letters that form a word
to mean, indicate or signify
to relieve



  • [spɛdl]


  1. pity, shame


Extensive Definition

Spell can be:
People called Spell:
  • Melissa Spell, the actress

See also

spell in German: Zauberspruch

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Jonah, access, act for, add up to, alchemy, allure, alternate, amount to, appeal, argue, arsis, attraction, augur, bad influence, be construed as, beat, becharm, beguile, bespeak, betoken, bewitch, bewitchery, bewitching, bit, bode, bout, break, breath, breathe, breather, breathing place, breathing space, breathing spell, breathing time, captivate, captivation, carry away, cast a spell, chance, change places with, charm, cigarette break, circle, circuit, clarify, cocktail hour, coffee break, conjuration, connote, course, cover, crowd out, curse, cut out, cycle, day, delineate, denote, diastole, displace, divination, divine, do a hitch, do a stint, do a tour, do time, double for, downbeat, downtime, draw, duration, elucidate, enchant, enchanting, enchantment, enforced respite, enlist, enrapture, enravish, enthrall, entrance, evil eye, evil genius, evil star, express, fascinate, fascination, fateful moment, fetishism, fill in for, fit, folklore, foretoken, formula, ghost, ghostwrite, glamour, go, gramarye, halt, happy hour, have a go, have tenure, hex, hint, hold office, hoodoo, hour, hypnotize, ill wind, imply, import, incantation, indicate, infatuate, influence, inning, innings, instant, intend, interlude, intermission, interval, intrigue, jinx, juju, jujuism, juncture, kairos, keep a watch, lay off, letup, lie by, look like, lore, lull, lure, magic, magnetism, malevolent influence, malocchio, mean, mesmerism, mesmerize, minute, moment, moment of truth, natural magic, necromancy, obeah, omen, opportunity, orthographize, outspell, patch, pause, period, pinch-hit, place, point, point to, popular belief, portend, prefigure, pregnant moment, preindicate, presage, presign, presignal, presignify, pretypify, promise, psychological moment, pull, pulse, re-up, recess, reenlist, refer to, relay, relief, relieve, replace, represent, respite, rest, revolution, rotation, round, run, rune, say, season, seizure, series, serve time, shamanism, shift, sign up, signify, sorcery, sortilege, space, span, specify, spell backward, spell off, spell out, spellbind, spellbinding, spellcasting, stage, stand for, stand in for, stay, stint, streak, stretch, subrogate, substitute for, succeed, suggest, supersede, superstition, superstitiousness, supplant, surcease, suspension, swap places with, syllabize, syllable, symbolize, sympathetic magic, systole, take over, take turns, tea break, tenure, term, thaumaturgia, thaumaturgics, thaumaturgism, thaumaturgy, thesis, theurgy, time, time at bat, time lag, time off, time out, token, tour, tour of duty, trace out, tradition, trance, transport, trick, turn, typify, understudy for, upbeat, vamp, vampirism, voodoo, voodooism, wanga, watch, whack, whammy, wheel, whet, while, white magic, witch, witchcraft, witchery, witchwork, wizardry, write out
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