Come Sit a Spell [idiom]. What does it mean?


Origin of a Phrase Sit a Spell 

If we consider it in grammatical context we would say there is a mistake. Depending on the context instead of FOR A SPELL we would say “for spelling” or “to spell.”

The word spell originates from Old English and means “story, saying, history, narrative or fable.”

Eventually, it took on another meaning in the 12th century and was used to refer to magical procedures that may cause someone harms.

Later, the word spell was used by sailors to describe the continuous stretch of something happening (weather).

It was later in the early 14th century when we used it to make a word or spell a word.

The phrase “sit a spell” has its roots in the United States old south. When someone wanted a person to come and have a friendly chat, they would say “Come sit a spell.”

Meaning of Sit a spell

SIT A SPELL is an idiomatic phrase. It means to tell a story or catch up with someone.

  • Oh, Lassie, I am tired. Let’s rest for a spell before we continue our walk.
  • Waylon, come sit a spell and tell me about your new job.

Collocations with SIT A SPELL

  • To rest for a spell
  • Come and sit a spell

Related Phrases

Come Sit down – in the context of for a spell, we are saying to sit with somebody and spend time with 

  • Please come and sit down and rest for a spell.

For a bit – in the context of for a spell, we are saying for a short period of time.

  • I can sit for a spell, but only for a bit then I need to get back to work.

For a little while – for a short period of time.

  • I am going to go and visit Grandpa for a little while, he asked me to come and sit a spell with him.

Not too for long – means to stay or spend time with someone or someplace for a shorter period of time.

  • I will sit with you for a spell, but not for too long as the pigs need to be fed.

FOR A SPELL Related idioms

The time is ripe – we use this to express that it is a good time to do something or for something to happen.

Take your time – do not hurry, do not rush.

Time out – we use this to express having a break from something and to relax.

To pass the time of day – when someone is having a short conversation about things that are not important.

Let’s have a chat – to have a short informal conversation about current issues


Fred: Hey Sanford, howdy how the heck are you?
Sanford: Fred! Gosh darn, it’s been a long time.
Fred: I am waiting for the wife, come, and sit a spell.
Sanford: Well I suppose I can rest for a spell. I have some time before I have to be home.

More about Spelling

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