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

Synonyms for spare

Synonyms: Adjective

excess, extra, redundant, supererogatory, superfluous, supernumerary, surplus

Synonyms: Verb

nurse, scant, skimp (on), stint (on)

Synonyms: Noun

extra, reserve

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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

Art was another important design influence; Ms. Junaid paints in her spare time. Candace Taylor, WSJ, "A Silicon Valley Retreat Where ‘Star Trek’ Meets ‘Star Wars’," 6 Dec. 2018 Green was set to add several hundred miles an hour to his existing record using this latest creation, which combined rocket power (using a hybrid engine from NAMMO) and a spare Rolls Royce EJ200 jet engine from a Eurofighter. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Bad news for the 1,000mph car as Bloodhound SSC is shut down," 11 Dec. 2018 Under the direction of the smashing Carrie Cracknell, each is a short monologue that, beneath its spare surface, grapples with profound questions about life, death, and identity. Adam Green, Vogue, "Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal Return to the New York Stage in Sea Wall/A Life," 10 Dec. 2018 The back of the car is always stocked with the essentials: a cooler for filling, spare flip flops, a beach towel studded with sand from the last trip. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "This Luxe Beach Tent Will Get You Through The Hottest Days Of Summer," 4 Aug. 2018 Could happen as Trump threatens wide-ranging tariffs on China More: China's tariffs will hit farm states hard, spare service-heavy states More: These 15 counties are most exposed to China's tariffs. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Trade wars are damaging, so why is Trump fighting one with China?," 13 July 2018 In Aspen, the set was spare, just four lecterns on the main stage, flanked by two screens. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "How Do You Measure a Country?," 1 July 2018 As translated from Norwegian by Martin Aitken, Love is a compelling, spare novel; an anxious mood hangs over Vibeke and Jon’s story like a thin, cold cloud. Constance Grady, Vox, "We read all 25 National Book Award finalists for 2018. Here’s what we thought.," 15 Nov. 2018 There will also be spare outfits lined up in case anything is damaged or lost. Marcia Moody, Town & Country, "Here's What It Really Takes to Plan a Royal Tour," 15 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Lili Reinhart and Madelaine Petsch also got in on the birthday celebrations — with plenty of hilarity to spare. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, and More "Riverdale" Stars Celebrate Charles Melton's Birthday," 5 Jan. 2019 The equipment is kept in air-portable shipping containers which contain everything from portable mess halls to spare aircraft parts. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Is Having Trouble With Its 'Base in a Box'," 2 Jan. 2019 After his conviction, Clark had argued his trial attorneys failed to present evidence of his childhood, marked by physical and emotional abuse, which might have convinced jurors to spare his life. Fox News, "Texas executes man in the torture, drowning of ex-roommate," 28 Sep. 2018 This architectural marvel at 196 Furnace Dock Road is now looking for a new owner with $12 million to spare. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Jackie Gleason’s iconic ‘Round House’ yours for $12M," 31 Aug. 2018 The new mom hit the red carpet with two seconds to spare, rocking a super chic blazer as a dress. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Kylie Jenner Is Outfit Repeating on the MTV VMAs Red Carpet," 21 Aug. 2018 Harvesting Basil Begin using the leaves as soon as the plant is large enough to spare some. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow Basil for Your Best Pesto Yet," 20 Aug. 2018 But with rooms to spare, the family happily shares their slice of paradise. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Farm-Fresh Flowers and Lobster Rolls Aplenty: Marlo Laz’s Jeweler Gives Her Guide to Nantucket," 7 Sep. 2018 England were back at 14/1 when Harry Kane scored a late winner in the opening game against Tunisia, while the odds were further slashed to 11/1 when a record 6-1 win over Panama ensured safe passage to the knockout rounds with a game to spare. SI.com, "Timeline of Hope and Glory: How England's Odds of Winning the World Cup Have Changed in 6 Months," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Luckily, another woman with the caravan was able to help her out and shared a spare. Annette Lin, Teen Vogue, "Migrant Caravan Teens Talk About What It's Like to Get Your Period," 20 Dec. 2018 With the country's most one-sided World Cup victory, England advanced to the last 16 with a game by spare. Rob Harris, chicagotribune.com, "Harry Kane's hat trick in 6-1 rout of Panama puts England in last 16 of World Cup," 24 June 2018 Glass mosaics certainly have the power to stun, especially after two decades of shelter magazine spreads of spare, midcentury modern interiors. Steven Kurutz, New York Times, "Telling a Story Through Tiles," 3 Mar. 2018 After acquiring some unbuilt chassis and spares, the German company Dauer built five improved EB110 Supersports with new, all-carbon bodywork. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "This Bugatti EB110 video is a great reminder of the 1990s supercar boom," 13 Aug. 2018 When Barger didn’t answer the door, McDonald found his spare key and let himself in. Erin Mccarthy, Philly.com, "A trail of blood and a murder mystery in a Berwyn widow's death," 26 May 2018 That’s why prefab manufacturer LivingHomes has unveiled the LivingHome AD1, a versatile accessory dwelling unit (ADU) that can act as a spare room in the backyard—or stand on its own as a tiny home. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "New prefab home can be yours for under $100K," 24 July 2018 Today, some hosts use the service for more than just renting a spare room for extra cash, instead leveraging Airbnb to create large-scale networks of two, three, and four or more homes for rent. Caitlin Mccabe, Philly.com, "Collingswood begins shutting down Airbnbs, as cities and towns worldwide struggle to regulate it," 27 June 2018 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

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

6 Jan 2019

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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