Definition of spell verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    spell

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//spel//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//spel//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they spell
    BrE BrE//spel//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//spel//
     
    he / she / it spells
    BrE BrE//spelz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//spelz//
     
    past simple spelt
    BrE BrE//spelt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//spelt//
     
    past participle spelt
    BrE BrE//spelt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//spelt//
     
    past simple spelled
    BrE BrE//speld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//speld//
     
    past participle spelled
    BrE BrE//speld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//speld//
     
    -ing form spelling
    BrE BrE//ˈspelɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈspelɪŋ//
     
    Grammar
     
    jump to other results
  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 spelt 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 spelt 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’. See related entries: Grammar
  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 spelt disaster for many farmers. This defeat spelt the end of his hopes of winning the title again.
  5. 5[transitive] spell somebody (North American English, informal) to replace for a short time somebody who is doing a particular activity so that they can rest Carter will be here in an hour to spell you.
  6. Word Originverb Middle English: shortening of Old French espeller, from the Germanic base of spell (noun senses 3 and 4).Extra examples ‘Nevaeh’ is ‘heaven’ spelled backwards/​backward. Do I really have to spell it out for you? His speech spelled out a clear message to the car industry. Is ‘necessary’ spelled with one ‘s’, or two? She spelled out precisely what she wanted. The article spelled ‘survey’ as ‘servay’. Phrasal Verbsspell somethingout
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: spell