spell


spell
spell n Spell, shift, tour, trick, turn, stint, bout, go can mean a limited period or amount of some activity that often follows a schedule.
Spell is ordinarily used in reference to very heavy or trying work which must be interrupted by a period of rest; the period may vary according to the laboriousness of the activity and the need of relief from it
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each spell of work was followed by a brief rest

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Shift suggests a change in time or hours of duty and therefore a change in the workers employed; it is used especially in reference to an industrial plant which is in continuous operation, and is applied variously to the period of work or to the body of workers engaged to work during that period
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the third shift begins work at midnight

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the factory works on a schedule of three shifts each day

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Tour occurs chiefly in the phrase tour of duty; it usually suggests a change in the character of the work and in its typical use (as of military or naval personnel) implies assignment for a definite term (as of weeks, months, or years) to a particular type of duty or to duty in a particular place
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his next tour of duty will be in Ceylon

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after a year at sea the commander was given a tour of shore duty

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Trick, like spell, usually implies the time allotted to one for working at or as if at the helm of a ship, and it may differ little from shift as applied to a period of work
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to take his trick at the wheel— Marry at

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the night trick in a newspaper office

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Turn in general use suggests an opportunity of a specified kind (as for work or play) or for a particular period that comes in alternation, rotation, or at more or less regular intervals
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I'll take a turn at that job now

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the boys lined up, each waiting for his turn at bat

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if we each took our turn and did our bit in peace as we had to do during the warShaw

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Stint (see also TASK) implies either an assigned amount of work or an assigned amount of time in which to accomplish it. The term is used widely in reference to one's own occupation, to the work of running a home, a farm, or a business, or to work in an industrial field especially where regular hours for a day's work are not or cannot be easily established
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the author assigned himself a daily stint of three pages

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Spinoza was forced to grind his stint of lenses before he could gratify his love for philosophy

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in some countries miners' wages are regulated not by days but by stints

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Bout, which has many specific applications and is perhaps more widely employed than any of the preceding terms, in general suggests an activity or condition that is marked by a definite beginning and end in time; specifically it may refer to a fight, an attack of illness and especially of a recurrent illness, or a spell (as of drinking, of work, or of exercise), but in every case it implies a beginning or end that marks it off from what precedes and follows
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a wrestling bout

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a bout of malaria

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he had been given to bouts only, and was not a habitual drunkard— Hardy

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copious eating and still more copious drinking, interrupted by bouts of. . . domestic horseplay— Huxley

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showing the effect of his past in . . . bouts of neurotic excitement— Buchan

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Go is often not clearly defined in meaning, but it comes close to bout, spell, and turn, in suggesting a restricted period
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a go with the gloves

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have a go at farming

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Analogous words: *period: allotment, assignment, apportionment (see corresponding verbs at ALLOT)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spell — Spell, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Spelled}or {Spelt}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Spelling}.] [OE. spellen, spellien, tell, relate, AS. spellian, fr. spell a saying, tale; akin to MHG. spellen to relate, Goth. spill?n.e {Spell} a tale. In sense 4 and those… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spell — can be: *Spell (paranormal) * Spell (recipe) * The Spell , a novel * *Spell (band), a musical group consisting of Boyd Rice and Rose McDowall *The Spells, an American indie rock band of the late 1990s consisting of Carrie Brownstein and Mary… …   Wikipedia

  • spell — spell1 [spel] n. [ME < OE, a saying, tale, charm, akin to Goth spill, tale < ? IE base * (s)pel , to speak loudly] 1. a word, formula, or form of words thought to have some magic power; incantation 2. seemingly magical power or irresistible …   English World dictionary

  • spell — Ⅰ. spell [1] ► VERB (past and past part. spelled or chiefly Brit. spelt) 1) write or name the letters that form (a word) in correct sequence. 2) (of letters) make up or form (a word). 3) be a sign of; lead to: the plans would spell disaster. 4) …   English terms dictionary

  • Spell — Spell, n. 1. The relief of one person by another in any piece of work or watching; also, a turn at work which is carried on by one person or gang relieving another; as, a spell at the pumps; a spell at the masthead. [1913 Webster] A spell at the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spell — Spell, n.[AS. spell a saying, tale, speech; akin to OS. & OHG. spel, Icel. spjall,Goth. spill. Cf. {Gospel}, {Spell} to tell the letters of.] 1. A story; a tale. [Obs.] Hearken to my spell. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 2. A stanza, verse, or phrase… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spell — [n1] interval, period bit, bout, course, go, hitch, interlude, intermission, patch, relay, season, shift, space, stint, streak, stretch, term, time, tour, tour of duty, trick, turn, while; concepts 807,817,822 spell [n2] magical aura over an… …   New thesaurus

  • Spell — Spell, v. i. 1. To form words with letters, esp. with the proper letters, either orally or in writing. [1913 Webster] When what small knowledge was, in them did dwell, And he a god, who could but read or spell. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. To study… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spell — Spell, n. [OE. speld, AS. speld a spill to light a candle with; akin to D. speld a pin, OD. spelle, G. spalten to split, OHG. spaltan, MHG. spelte a splinter, Icel. spjald a square tablet, Goth. spilda a writing tablet. Cf. {Spill}splinter, roll… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spell — Spell, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Spelled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Spelling}.] [AS. spelian to supply another s place.] To supply the place of for a time; to take the turn of, at work; to relieve; as, to spell the helmsman. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English