1

spare

verb \ ˈsper \

Definition of spare

spared; sparing
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
6 a :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

spareable

play \ˈsper-ə-bəl\ adjective

sparer

noun

Examples of spare in a Sentence

  1. No one knows why the gunman shot some people and spared others.

  2. Somehow the storm spared our house while nearby buildings were destroyed.

  3. She was spared from having to answer any more questions.

  4. He wanted to spare his family from the stress he had endured.

  5. I could have spared myself the trouble.

  6. He spared them the embarrassment of a public apology.

  7. If you could spare a cup of sugar, it would save me a trip to the store.

Recent Examples of spare from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of spare

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

spare Synonyms

Synonyms
nurse, scant, skimp (on), stint (on)
Antonyms
waste
Related Words
dole out, mete (out), portion (out), ration (out); pinch, shortchange; conserve, preserve
Near Antonyms
heap, lavish, pour, rain, shower

2

spare

adjective

Definition of spare

sparer; sparest
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

sparely

adverb

spareness

noun

Examples of spare in a Sentence

  1. a spare pair of gloves

  2. I keep a spare set of keys in my desk.

  3. He has a spare frame.

  4. He was tall and spare.

  5. I like her spare style of writing.

Recent Examples of spare from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of spare

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

Synonym Discussion of spare

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

3

spare

noun

Definition of spare

1 a :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

Examples of spare in a Sentence

  1. “I've lost the key.” “You'll find a spare in the drawer.”

  2. If that one breaks, I've got a spare.

  3. Most cars come with spares.

  4. He got a strike and two spares.

Recent Examples of spare from the Web

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.

First Known Use of spare

1907

Other Automotive Terms


SPARE Defined for English Language Learners

spare

verb

Definition of spare for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of spare for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of spare for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

spare

verb \ ˈsper \

Definition of spare for Students

spared; sparing
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.

2

spare

adjective

Definition of spare for Students

sparer; sparest
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

3

spare

noun

Definition of spare for Students

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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