spare

adjective
\ˈsper \
sparer; sparest

Definition of spare 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : not being used especially : held for emergency use a spare tire

2 : being over and above what is needed : superfluous spare time

3 : not liberal or profuse : sparing a spare prose style

4 : healthily lean

5 : not abundant or plentiful

spare

verb
spared; sparing

Definition of spare (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to forbear to destroy, punish, or harm

2 : to refrain from attacking or reprimanding with necessary or salutary severity

3 : to relieve of the necessity of doing or undergoing something spare yourself the trouble

4 : to refrain from : avoid spared no expense

5 : to use or dispense frugally used chiefly in the negative don't spare the syrup

6a : to give up as not strictly needed do you have any cash to spare

b : to have left over or as margin time to spare

intransitive verb

1 : to be frugal

2 : to refrain from doing harm

spare

noun

Definition of spare (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : a spare tire

b : a duplicate (such as a key or a machine part) kept in reserve

2 : the knocking down of all 10 pins with the first 2 balls in a frame in bowling

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Other Words from spare

Adjective

sparely adverb
spareness noun

Verb

spareable \ ˈsper-​ə-​bəl \ adjective
sparer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for spare

Adjective

lean, spare, lank, lanky, gaunt, rawboned, scrawny, skinny mean thin because of an absence of excess flesh. lean stresses lack of fat and of curving contours. a lean racehorse spare suggests leanness from abstemious living or constant exercise. the gymnast's spare figure lank implies tallness as well as leanness. the lank legs of the heron lanky suggests awkwardness and loose-jointedness as well as thinness. a lanky youth, all arms and legs gaunt implies marked thinness or emaciation as from overwork or suffering. a prisoner's gaunt face rawboned suggests a large ungainly build without implying undernourishment. a rawboned farmer scrawny and skinny imply an extreme leanness that suggests deficient strength and vitality. a scrawny chicken skinny street urchins

meager, scanty, scant, skimpy, spare, sparse mean falling short of what is normal, necessary, or desirable. meager implies the absence of elements, qualities, or numbers necessary to a thing's richness, substance, or potency. a meager portion of meat scanty stresses insufficiency in amount, quantity, or extent. supplies too scanty to last the winter scant suggests a falling short of what is desired or desirable rather than of what is essential. in January the daylight hours are scant skimpy usually suggests niggardliness or penury as the cause of the deficiency. tacky housing developments on skimpy lots spare may suggest a slight falling short of adequacy or merely an absence of superfluity. a spare, concise style of writing sparse implies a thin scattering of units. a sparse population

Examples of spare in a Sentence

Adjective

a spare pair of gloves I keep a spare set of keys in my desk. He has a spare frame. He was tall and spare. I like her spare style of writing.

Verb

No one knows why the gunman shot some people and spared others. Somehow the storm spared our house while nearby buildings were destroyed. She was spared from having to answer any more questions. He wanted to spare his family from the stress he had endured. I could have spared myself the trouble. He spared them the embarrassment of a public apology. If you could spare a cup of sugar, it would save me a trip to the store.

Noun

“I've lost the key.” “You'll find a spare in the drawer.” If that one breaks, I've got a spare. Most cars come with spares. He got a strike and two spares.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The resolution would also order all countries to immediately prevent the direct or indirect supply or sale of weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and other equipment and spare parts to South Sudan until May 31, 2019. Fox News, "UN to vote on arms embargo and new sanctions on South Sudan," 13 July 2018 Most of those, though, ended up broken down in official garages because spare parts weren't available in Venezuela. Gustavo Ocando Alex, miamiherald, "With little public transportation, Venezuelans resort to dangerous, illegal ‘kennels’ to get around," 12 July 2018 This is a big step toward regenerative medicine, which can grow spare parts customized for your body. William Saletan, WSJ, "‘She Has Her Mother’s Laugh’ Review: Biology’s Strange New World," 28 June 2018 All of this is adding to the severe problems at the company that were already acute because of corruption, poor maintenance, crippling debts, the loss of professionals and even a lack of spare parts. New York Times, "Workers Flee and Thieves Loot Venezuela’s Reeling Oil Giant," 14 June 2018 And, since more than 60% of Indian weaponry is of Russian origin, any punitive measure by the Trump administration could negatively impact the vital supply of spare parts, in addition to the S-400 deal. Vinay Kaura, Time, "Strategic Ties Between India and the U.S. Are Growing. But Russia Is a Stumbling Block," 11 June 2018 Our heroes now are Jake (John Boyega), the rebellious son of Elba’s character, and the teen orphan Amara (Cailee Spaeny), who builds her own Jaeger out of spare parts. Mark Kennedy, idahostatesman, "‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ is cheer-at-the-screen fun | Idaho Statesman," 22 Mar. 2018 Our heroes now are Jake (John Boyega), the rebellious son of the Idris Elba character from the first film, and the teen orphan Amara (Cailee Spaeny), who builds her own Jaeger out of spare parts. Mark Kennedy, Detroit Free Press, "Review: ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ is what a sequel should be," 22 Mar. 2018 That’s why Porsche Classic has turned to 3D printing to make limited numbers of certain spare parts. Chris Perkins, Car and Driver, "3D Printing Is Helping to Keep Classic Porsches on the Road," 2 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

We are supposed to move heaven and earth, and spare no expense. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "The world shows its love to kids in a Thai cave. We need that same love for kids at the border | Will Bunch," 8 July 2018 But the whatever-it-is that lies in wait for the Grahams will spare no one. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "The Artfully Made Hereditary Is the Latest Horror Film to Elevate the Genre," 7 June 2018 Trump’s surreptitious efforts to exonerate himself and spare a political ally from prosecution failed spectacularly. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Mistake That May Haunt Trump Forever," 9 May 2018 Having a tank of gas last until Sunday or even Monday each week can collectively save drivers $2.6 billion, and spare the headache of not being able to find an available pump. Southern Living, "Fill up on This Day of the Week to Save the Most Money on Gas," 2 May 2018 Oddly, the final setting of the nuke in The Strain is 15 kilotons, which the protagonists say is enough to take out a skyscraper but spare the city. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Hollywood Has No Idea How Nukes Work," 2 Apr. 2018 The Times notes a 2016 series in the Lancet in which researchers estimated that universal breastfeeding could spare the lives of 823,000 children each year and save $302 billion in economic losses. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "US puts fierce squeeze on breastfeeding policy, shocking health officials," 9 July 2018 At a joint press conference on Thursday, Macron said: ‘‘A trade war doesn’t spare anyone. BostonGlobe.com, "President Trump says Russia should be allowed back in G-7," 8 June 2018 And when Schmidt was busy house-hunting upon moving to town last fall, Haula opened his doors (and spare upstairs bedroom) like old times. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "From College Hockey to Vegas, the Journey of Haula and Schmidt Could Include the Stanley Cup," 25 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Choose from slow-smoked favorite like Texas brisket, St. Louis spare ribs, Carolina pork shoulder or BBQ platter, which features a sampling of each, and two sides. Wendy Killeen, azcentral, "Father's Day 2018: Food and drink deals around Phoenix will help you say thanks to Dad," 11 June 2018 Menu options include: St. Louis spare ribs, beef tri-tip, seared 8-ounce filet mignon and Scottish salmon. Carolina Gusman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "117 ways to celebrate mom: Your San Diego guide to Mother's Day brunches, lunches and dinners," 7 May 2018 Maybe there is a spare box floating around Calabasas after all... refinery29.com, "Kylie Jenner, Crystals & Cults: Inside The Mysterious Orgonite Society," 13 July 2018 By September, Grady expects to be running 15 ambulances, with two spares available in case there are mechanical or other issues. Arielle Kass, ajc, "Grady says plan in place, will be ready to handle south Fulton service," 29 June 2018 The first is the spare-button-and-matching-thread packet that comes with a new piece of clothing. Lisa Scottoline, Philly.com, "The things she retains | Lisa Scottoline," 28 June 2018 Canada has since replaced the mechanisms with spares, but the country is sending up another one just in case there’s another failure. Loren Grush, The Verge, "SpaceX is sending an AI robot ‘crew member’ to join the astronauts on the space station," 28 June 2018 All our worries from regular life are temporarily boxed away, and there's spare room now that allows us to look around with fresh eyes. Shaila Kapoor, latimes.com, "The moment on the beach is fleeting. Or is it forever?," 25 June 2018 The elegant restaurant serves classic Neapolitan-style pizza with perfectly doughy crust and spare, flavorful toppings. Melanie D.g. Kaplan, chicagotribune.com, "Boulder, Colorado, does things its own way," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spare.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of spare

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for spare

Adjective

Middle English, from Old English spær sparing, scant; akin to Old High German spar spare

Verb

Middle English, from Old English sparian; akin to Old High German sparōn to spare, Old English spær, adjective, scant

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Learn More about spare

Statistics for spare

Last Updated

29 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spare

The first known use of spare was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for spare

spare

verb

English Language Learners Definition of spare

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to choose not to punish or harm (someone)

: to not destroy or harm (something)

: to prevent (someone or something) from experiencing or being affected by something unpleasant, harmful, etc.

spare

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of spare (Entry 2 of 3)

: kept as something extra that can be used if it is needed

: available to be used in whatever way you want

: not needed by you and available to be shared or given to someone else

spare

noun

English Language Learners Definition of spare (Entry 3 of 3)

: something extra that is kept to be used if it is needed

bowling : the achievement of knocking down all 10 pins with the first two balls

spare

verb
\ˈsper \
spared; sparing

Kids Definition of spare

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to keep from being punished or harmed : show mercy to The king promised to spare the prisoner.

2 : to free from having to go through something difficult This afternoon … he was spared any disagreeable scenes.— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

3 : to keep from using or spending More pancakes, please, and don't spare the syrup.

4 : to give up especially as not really needed Can you spare a few minutes?

5 : to have left over I got there with time to spare.

spare

adjective
sparer; sparest

Kids Definition of spare (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : held in reserve (as for an emergency) a spare tire

2 : being over what is needed spare time

3 : somewhat thin a spare figure

4 : scanty a spare diet

spare

noun

Kids Definition of spare (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a replacement or duplicate piece or part

2 : the knocking down of all ten bowling pins with the first two balls

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More from Merriam-Webster on spare

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spare

Spanish Central: Translation of spare

Nglish: Translation of spare for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spare for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spare

Comments on spare

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