noun (1)
\ ˈspär How to pronounce spar (audio) \

Definition of spar

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1 : a stout pole
2a : a stout rounded usually wood or metal piece (such as a mast, boom, gaff, or yard) used to support rigging
b : any of the main longitudinal members of the wing of an airplane that carry the ribs


sparred; sparring

Definition of spar (Entry 2 of 5)

intransitive verb

1a : box entry 3 especially : to gesture without landing a blow to draw one's opponent or create an opening
b : to engage in a practice or exhibition bout of boxing
3 : to strike or fight with feet or spurs in the manner of a gamecock


noun (2)

Definition of spar (Entry 3 of 5)

1 : a movement of offense or defense in boxing
2 : a sparring match or session


noun (3)

Definition of spar (Entry 4 of 5)

: any of various nonmetallic usually cleavable and lustrous minerals


noun (4)
\ ˈspär How to pronounce SPAR (audio) \

Definition of SPAR (Entry 5 of 5)

: a member of the women's reserve of the U.S. Coast Guard

Examples of spar in a Sentence

Verb He's been sparring with his trainer. They sparred playfully over whose team was better.

First Known Use of spar

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1537, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1814, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

1581, in the meaning defined above

Noun (4)

1942, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for spar

Noun (1)

Middle English sparre; akin to Old English spere spear — more at spear


Middle English sparren to dart, spring

Noun (3)

Low German; akin to Old English spærstān gypsum, spæren of plaster

Noun (4)

Semper Paratus, motto of the U.S. Coast Guard, from New Latin, always ready

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Time Traveler for spar

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The first known use of spar was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Spar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for spar



English Language Learners Definition of spar

: to box with someone as a form of training or practice
: to argue with someone in a friendly way


\ ˈspär How to pronounce spar (audio) \

Kids Definition of spar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long rounded piece of wood or metal (as a mast) to which a sail is fastened


sparred; sparring

Kids Definition of spar (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to box or make boxing movements with the fists for practice or for fun
2 : to argue often in a playful way

More from Merriam-Webster on spar

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spar

Nglish: Translation of spar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spar for Arabic Speakers


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