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spell - definition and synonyms

 
 
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verb spell pronunciation in British English /spel/
Word Forms
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present tense
I/you/we/theyspell
he/she/itspells
present participlespelling
past tensespelt or spelled
past participlespelt or spelled
  1. 1
    [transitive] to know the letters of a word in the correct order
    Can you spell the word ‘beautiful’?
    1. a.
      [transitive] to say or write the letters of a word in the correct order
      You’ve spelt my name wrong.
    2. b.
      [intransitive] to have a good knowledge of the way that words are written
      Her writing is neat, but she can’t spell.
    3. c.
      [transitive] if a series of letters spells a word, they make that word. This is usually used by children and teachers
      L-O-V-E spells ‘love’.
  2. 2
    [transitive] to show that something is going to happen, usually something bad
    The news spelled the death of the US car industry.
    spell disaster/trouble: There’s a determined look about him which can only spell trouble for his rivals.
  3. 3
    [transitive] American informal to do someones work for a short time, so that they can rest
    I’d better go spell Mitch for a couple of hours.
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