American English

Definition of spell verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they spell
    he / she / it spells
    past simple spelt
    past simple spelled
    -ing form spelling
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  1. 1[transitive] spell something to say or write the letters of a word in the correct order How do you spell your surname? I thought her name was Catherine, but it's Kathryn spelled with a “K.”
  2. 2[intransitive, transitive] to form words correctly from individual letters I've never been able to spell. spell something + adj. You've spelled my name wrong. see also misspell
  3. 3[transitive] spell something (of letters of a word) to form words when they are put together in a particular order C—A—T spells “cat.”
  4. 4[transitive] spell something (for somebody/something) to have something, usually something bad, as a result; to mean something, usually something bad The crop failure spelled disaster for many farmers. This defeat spelled the end of his hopes of winning the title again.
  5. 5[transitive] spell somebody (informal) to replace for a short time someone who is doing a particular activity so that they can rest Carter will be here in an hour to spell you.
  6. Phrasal Verbsspell somethingout
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: spell