spell down, to outspell others in a spelling match.
to explain something explicitly, so that the meaning is unmistakable: Must I spell it out for you?
to write out in full or enumerate the letters of which a word is composed: The title “Ph.D.” is seldom spelled out.
Origin: 1250–1300; Middle English spellen < Old French espeller < Germanic; compare Old English spellian to talk, announce (derivative of spellspell2), Old High German -spellōn,Old Norse spjalla,Gothic spillōn
a continuous course or period of work or other activity: to take a spell at the wheel.
a turn of work so taken.
a turn, bout, fit, or period of anything experienced or occurring: a spell of coughing.
an indefinite interval or space of time: Come visit us for a spell.
a period of weather of a specified kind: a hot spell.
Australian. a rest period.
Archaic. a person or set of persons taking a turn of work to relieve another.
verb (used with object)
to take the place of for a time; relieve: Let me spell you at the wheel.
Australian. to declare or give a rest period to.
verb (used without object)
Australian. to have or take a rest period.
Origin: 1585–95; (v.) alteration of earlier spele to stand instead of, relieve, spare, Middle English spelen,Old English spelian; akin to Old English spala, gespelia a substitute; (noun) akin to the v. (perhaps continuing Old English gespelia)
"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.