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

When Nadal broke in Saturday’s second game, a dismayed Djokovic grabbed a spare ball and whacked it with his racket against the wall behind the baseline. Howard Fendrich, BostonGlobe.com, "Novak Djokovic outlasts Rafael Nadal in five sets to reach fifth Wimbledon final," 14 July 2018 The heroin was found on the floor of a spare bedroom where the door was open, according to a warrant, and could have been easily accessed by the toddler. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Cops: Cobb parents had $400K of heroin in home with 2-year-old girl," 6 July 2018 But its intricate layers demand close inspection, revealing a marvelous design that gets some of its elegance from a relatively spare mix of natural materials: cedar root, cedar bark and bear grass. Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle, "Art Daybook: Examining the ‘Ties That Bind’," 3 July 2018 At another station, a cobot takes new spare tires off a conveyor belt and stacks them on a cart. The Christian Science Monitor, "Automakers embrace robots that assist, not replace, human workers," 27 Apr. 2018 The Pitmaster Platter at Q on Norwegian Bliss includes a quarter pound each of brisket, pork spare ribs, jalapeño and cheese sausage, and smoked chicken, plus five sides. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "Riding 30 mph go-karts at sea? NCL strives for high-energy fun with its new cruise ship | Miami Herald," 11 May 2018 The children of the rich and famous – at least one future billionaire among them – were spending their spare time dabbling with orgonites, which just happen to have a slightly more fraught history than, say, fidget spinners or terrariums. refinery29.com, "Kylie Jenner, Crystals & Cults: Inside The Mysterious Orgonite Society," 13 July 2018 In his spare time, the popular pooch is making time for public appearances in support of fellow amputees. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Meet Deuce from Kentucky — he might just be the fastest dog on two legs," 11 July 2018 In his spare time, Patrick enjoyed spending time with his family and friends on his Maritimo boat, Commitment. courant.com, "Patrick Francis Carney," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But a top police official who visited the cave told search leaders to spare no expense. Richard C. Paddock, New York Times, "How Rescuers Pulled Off the Impossible in a Treacherous Thai Cave," 10 July 2018 Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all-out search and rescue efforts, telling the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chinese diplomats in Thailand to take greater measures, and also urging Thai authorities to spare no efforts. Vincent Thian, chicagotribune.com, "Search resumes for 23 missing tourists, mostly from China, after boat sinks in Thailand; 33 dead," 7 July 2018 The Trump administration designed its tariff list to try to spare consumers, and many of the products that American families purchase from China, from flat-screen TVs to shoes, will not be hit Friday. New York Times, BostonGlobe.com, "Trade war with China looms as midnight tariff deadline approaches," 6 July 2018 Before now, the administration had deliberately avoided imposing tariffs on consumer goods in order to spare U.S. shoppers from direct economic pain. Anchorage Daily News, "A new round of proposed Trump tariffs would hit US consumers," 12 July 2018 At times, the boys were harnessed to ropes and drawn across steep caverns to spare them from climbing up and down jagged crevices and were floated across pools of water in other chambers. Robyn Dixon, latimes.com, "Tears flow as Thai boys and parents see each other for first time since cave rescue," 11 July 2018 Only after a fellow cryptographer, Daniel Bernstein, sued the government with the same free-speech argument Wilson would use 20 years later did the government drop its investigation of Zimmermann and spare him from prison. Adam Fisher, WIRED, "A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora’s Box for DIY Guns," 10 July 2018 Parents are key to their child’s ability to manage emotions, according to one study.’ While a child’s ability to manage their emotions can spare them from momentary public embarrassment, the real benefits are long-term. Jennifer Breheny Wallace, WSJ, "When Children Lose Control," 6 July 2018 When that failed, Natale worked out the plea deal with prosecutors Pelker and Tony Gonzalez to spare him from spending the rest of his life in prison, according to court records. Jay Weaver, miamiherald, "Dark web's 'OxyMonster' pleads guilty to narco-trafficking, faces 20 years in prison," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Angus Turvill’s translation of Ono’s prose is spare. Alexis Burling, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Lion Cross Point,’ by Masatsugu Ono," 27 Apr. 2018 The stunning set, designed by Scott Pask, is both spare and grand; the stage is filled with many many golden pipes, as though the entire proceedings take place inside an unimaginably huge organ. Toby Zinman, Philly.com, "What a Broadway weekend!: 'St. Joan' and 'My Fair Lady'!," 27 Apr. 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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Statistics for spare

Last Updated

18 Aug 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

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