4. To tell or name in their proper order letters of, as a word; to write or print in order the letters of, especially. The proper letters; to form, as words, by correct orthography. The word satire ought to be spelled with i, and not with y. (Dryden)
5. To discover by characters or marks; to read with difficulty; usually with out; as, to spell out the sense of an author; to spell out a verse in the bible. To spell out a god in the works of creation. (south) To sit spelling and observing divine justice upon every accident. (milton)
Origin: OE. Spellen, spellien, tell, relate, AS. Spellian, fr. Spell a saying, tale; akin to MHG. Spellen to relate, Goth. Spilln.e Spell a tale. In sense 4 and those following, OE. Spellen, perhaps originally a different word, and from or influenced by spell a splinter, from the use of a piece of wood to point to the letters in schools: cf. D. Spellen to spell. Cf. Spell splinter.