phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Sit a spell

Posted by James Briggs on April 20, 2006

In Reply to: Sit a spell posted by Anne on April 20, 2006

: What is the origin of the phrase "sit a spell?" I've looked up spell in the OED and there are several possibilities, but nothing references "sit a spell."

I think that this means to sit for/a while. 'Spell' in this context derives from the Old English 'gespelia' meaning "substitute" as in one group of workers substituting another by taking over their duties; ie one group working for a while/time and then being freed of the task.