American English

Definition of spell noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a short period of time during which something lasts a spell of warm weather a cold/hot/wet/bright, etc. spell There will be rain at first, with sunny spells later. She went to the doctor complaining of dizzy spells.
  2. 2[countable] a period of time doing something or working somewhere She had a spell as a singer before becoming an actress. I spent a brief spell at the Washington Post.
  3. 3[countable] words that are thought to have magic power or to make a piece of magic work; a piece of magic that happens when someone says these magic words a magic spell a book of spells The wizard recited a spell. to cast/put a spell on someone to be under a spell (= affected by magic)
  4. 4[singular] a quality that a person or thing has that makes them so attractive or interesting that they have a strong influence on you synonym charm I completely fell under her spell. It was a magic night until the spell was broken. Since last century the spell of the pyramids has drawn tourists to Egypt.
  5. Idioms
    weave a spell (over somebody)
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    to perform or behave in a way that is attractive or interesting, or that makes someone behave in a particular way Her storytelling wove a spell over the children.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: spell