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spell (v.1)

14世纪初, “逐字阅读, 写或说字母的”; 15世纪, “用字母组成单词”, 显然是一个法语词, 与一个土生土长的古英语词合并或取而代之; 两者来自同一个日耳曼语根, 但法语词已演化出不同的意义. 本土词是古英语 spellian “告诉, 说话, 话语, 谈话”, 来自于原日耳曼语 *spellam (来源也是古高德语 spellon “告诉”, 古诺尔语 spjalla, 哥特语 spillon “说话, 告诉” ), 来自于PIE *spel- (2) “大声说, 背诵”.

但目前的意义似乎来自英法 espeller, 古法语 espelir “意思, 表示, 解释, 解释”, 也有“拼出字母, 发音, 背诵”, 来自法兰克语 *spellon “告诉” 或其他日耳曼语源, 最终与本族词相同.

相关链接: Spelled; spelling. 在早期的中古英语中仍是“讲, 讲道, 讲, 讲”, 因此有这样的表达: hear spell “听到(某事) 被告知或谈论”, spell the wind “徒劳地谈论” (均为15世纪). 意为“用适当的字母组成单词”, 是1580年代的. Spell out “一步步解释” 最早记载于1940年, 美国英语. 莎士比亚有 spell (someone) backwards “颠倒性格, 用相反的意义来解释, 用坚决的否定态度来描写”.

spell (n.1)

古英语 spell “故事, 说法, 故事, 历史, 叙事, 寓言; 话语, 命令”, 来自原日耳曼语 *spellam (见 spell (v. 1) ). 比较古撒克逊语 spel, 古北欧语 spjall, 古高德语 spel, 哥特语 spill “报告, 话语, 故事, 寓言, 神话;” 德语 Beispiel “例子”. 从13世纪作为“一个语句, 说的东西, 声明, 评论;” 意思是“一组词与所谓的神奇或神秘的力量, 咒语, 魅力” 首先记录1570年代; 因此任何手段或原因的魅力.

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” ]

In general terms, the belief underlying the use of spells is that the wish that they embody will be fulfilled, regardless of its goodness or badness, so long as the formula has been correctly pronounced. Broadly speaking, then, spell and prayer, like magic and religion to which they severally belong, can be distinguished by the nature of the intended purpose. [Enyclopaedia Britannica, 1941]

在古英语中也有“教义; 布道; 宗教指导或教学; 福音; 圣经的一本书;” 比较 gospel.

spell (v.2)

“代替(另一个) 工作”, 1590年代, 更早的 spele, 来自古英语 spelian “取而代之, 代替, 代表”, 与 gespelia “代替” 有关, 来源不明. 也许与 spilian “发挥” 有关(见 spiel). 相关: Spelled; spelling.

spell (n.2)

1620年代, “代替另一个人的轮班工作”, 来自 spell (v. 2); 比较古英语 gespelia “a substitute”. 意思转向“连续的工作过程” (1706年), 可能是通过轮班工作的概念(如在海上), 一个人或船员定期“拼” 另一个人. 因此, 某事(天气等) 的“连续延伸”, 到1728年有记录. 因此, 通过 give a spell (1750年) “通过轮流工作来减轻另一个人的负担” 的概念, 产生了“休息或放松的间歇” (1845年) 的意义, 使这个词的意义与开始时相反.

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Definitions of spell from WordNet
1
spell (v.)
orally recite the letters of or give the spelling of;
We had to spell out our names for the police officer
How do you spell this word?
Synonyms: spell out
spell (v.)
indicate or signify;
I'm afraid this spells trouble!
Synonyms: import
spell (v.)
write or name the letters that comprise the conventionally accepted form of (a word or part of a word);
He spelled the word wrong in this letter
Synonyms: write
spell (v.)
relieve (someone) from work by taking a turn;
She spelled her husband at the wheel
spell (v.)
place under a spell;
spell (v.)
take turns working;
the workers spell every four hours
2
spell (n.)
a psychological state induced by (or as if induced by) a magical incantation;
Synonyms: enchantment / trance
spell (n.)
a time period for working (after which you will be relieved by someone else);
a spell of work
Synonyms: go / tour / turn
spell (n.)
a period of indeterminate length (usually short) marked by some action or condition;
a spell of good weather
Synonyms: while / piece / patch
spell (n.)
a verbal formula believed to have magical force;
he whispered a spell as he moved his hands
Synonyms: magic spell / magical spell / charm
From wordnet.princeton.edu