Etymology
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spelling (n.)

mid-15c., "action of reading letter by letter," verbal noun from spell (v.1). Meaning "manner of forming words with letters" is from 1660s; meaning "a way a word has been spelled" is from 1731. Spelling bee is from 1878 (see bee; earlier spelling match, 1845; the act of winning such a schoolroom contest is described in 1854 as to spell (someone) down.

updated on June 16, 2020

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Definitions of spelling from WordNet

spelling (n.)
forming words with letters according to the principles underlying accepted usage;
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.