Words or a formula supposed to have magical powers. [from 16th c.] A magical effect or influence induced by an incantation or formula. [from 16th c.] (obsolete) Speech, discourse. [8th-15th c.] (transitive, obsolete) To read (something) as though letter by letter; to peruse slowly or with effort. [from 14th c.] (transitive, sometimes with “out”) To write or say the letters that form a word or part of a word. [from 16th c.] (intransitive) To be able to write or say the letters that form words. (transitive) Of letters: to compose (a word). [from 19th c.] (transitive, figurative, with “out”) To clarify; to explain in detail. [from 20th c.] Please spell it out for me. (transitive) To indicate that (some event) will occur. [from 19th c.] To constitute; to measure. (obsolete) To speak, to declaim. [9th-16th c.] (obsolete) To tell; to relate; to teach. (transitive) To work in place of (someone). (transitive) To rest (someone or something), to give someone or something a rest or break. (intransitive, colloquial) To rest from work for a time. A shift (of work); (rare) a set of workers responsible for a specific turn of labour. [from 16th c.] (informal) A definite period (of work or other activity). [from 18th c.] (colloquial) An indefinite period of time (usually with a qualifier); by extension, a relatively short distance. [from 18th c.] A period of rest; time off. [from 19th c.] (colloquial, US) A period of illness, or sudden interval of bad spirits, disease etc. [from 19th c.] (cricket) An uninterrupted series of alternate overs bowled by a single bowler. [from 20th c.] (dialectal) A splinter, usually of wood; a spelk. The wooden bat in the game of trap ball, or knurr and spell.