spelling

[spel-ing]
noun
1.
the manner in which words are spelled; orthography.
2.
a group of letters representing a word.
3.
the act of a speller.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English (gerund); see spell1, -ing1

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
spelling (ˈspɛlɪŋ)
 
n
1.  the act or process of writing words by using the letters conventionally accepted for their formation; orthography
2.  the art or study of orthography
3.  the actual way in which a word is spelt
4.  the ability of a person to spell: John's spelling is good

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

spell
"name the letters of," O.E. spellian "to tell, speak," infl. by O.Fr. espeller "declare, spell," from Frank. *spellon "to tell;" both O.E. and Frank. from P.Gmc. *spellan (cf. O.H.G. spellon "to tell," O.N. spjalla, Goth. spillon "to talk, tell"), from PIE *spel- "to say aloud, recite." Meaning "write
or say the letters of a word" is c.1400, from notion of "read letter by letter, read with difficulty" (c.1300). Spell out "explain step-by-step" is first recorded 1940, Amer.Eng. Spelling bee is from 1878 (earlier simply spelling, 1860).

spell
"incantation, charm," O.E. spell "story, speech," from P.Gmc. *spellan (cf. O.N. spjall, O.H.G. spel, Goth. spill "report, discourse, tale;" Ger. Beispiel "example;" see spell (v.1)). Meaning "set of words with magical powers, incantation, charm" first recorded 1579. Spellbound
is attested from 1799, from bound "fastened."
"The term 'spell' is generally used for magical procedures which cause harm, or force people to do something against their will -- unlike charms for healing, protection, etc." ["Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore"]

spell
"work in place of (another)," O.E. spelian "to take the place of," related to gespelia "substitute," of uncertain origin. Perhaps related to spilian "to play" (see spiel). The noun meaning "indefinite period of time" first recorded 1706.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for spellings
Writing was phonetic the letters represented the sounds and not conventional spellings.
Researchers have reported a variety of spellings for a given word.
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