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set a spell (third-person singular simple present sets a spell, present participle setting a spell, simple past and past participle set a spell)

  1. (US, idiomatic, countrified dialect) To sit down for a period of time, especially in the company of other people and in order to relax or to engage in casual conversation.
    • 1876, Louisa May Alcott, "The Romance of a Summer Day" in Silver Pitchers: and Independence:
      [S]he declined his invitation to "Come up and see the old woman and set a spell."
    • 1906, Myrtle Reed, A Spinner in the Sun, ch. 2:
      "You might as well set down," remarked Miss Hitty, with a new gentleness of manner. "I'm going to set a spell."
    • 2000 Jan. 30, Steve Strunsky, "New Jersey and Co.: Inside 'Big Box' Project, Threats to 'Little Boxes'," New York Times (retrieved 25 June 2011):
      Hank's Hardware is one of those quintessentially American places. . . . Hank's is a place where people can set a spell, but it is also a business, competing in the ever-tightening hardware marketplace.
    • 2005 Nov. 24, Jean Parks, "Opinion: Retirement fulfills," USA Today (retrieved 25 June 2011):
      In this country community, we enjoy our neighbors as we never could before. There is time to set a spell and talk about the weather, family and days gone by.