spare

adjective
\ ˈsper How to pronounce spare (audio) \
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 negativedon'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 How to pronounce spare (audio) \ adjective
sparer noun

Synonyms for spare

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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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 In his memoir, Rideau describes the decision to spend his spare time robbing a local bank as a sudden impulse. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Why America Loves the Death Penalty," 11 Jan. 2021 His writing is spare, with many open spaces left for readers to fill in the blanks, something each will do in their own manner. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "Our reviewers read a lot of books in 2020. Here are their favorites.," 25 Dec. 2020 At the moment, Lee is pretty busy with his studies, but he's managed to carve out some spare time to learn even more math in the evenings. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "This TikTok Genius Will Guess Your Exact Height Using Math," 21 Dec. 2020 The special was spare, without an audience, celebrity guests or costume changes, and only one church-like set, with stained-glass windows and candles. Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Holiday TV wants to ignore COVID-19. The alternate reality is an insult to viewers," 16 Dec. 2020 John Wilson’s mosaic of New York City, framed by gentle offerings of advice, is both spare and peculiar. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "The Best TV Shows of 2020," 10 Dec. 2020 Some people knit in their spare time, some paint, some tinker with old cars. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "All that’s redacted in the Texas lawsuit against Google," 17 Dec. 2020 Riggins works in the staffing industry, but pursues artwork in her spare time as a hobby and to relieve stress. Mary Grace Granados, Dallas News, "This Fort Worth artist is decorating Grapevine’s Main Street with festive chalk designs that look 3D," 16 Dec. 2020 Members of Murphy’s staff, led by Britt Foulds, who lives in the neighborhood, volunteered their spare time to spearhead the project, Murphy said. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "South Green holiday light display perks up Hartford neighborhood enduring coronavirus," 16 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The first year of the Covid-19 pandemic revealed that a country’s wealth would not spare it from the virus. New York Times, "For Covid-19 Vaccines, Some Are Too Rich — and Too Poor," 28 Dec. 2020 To spare the child from the ordeal, the family agreed to let Connick’s office drop the charges. David A. Hammer, NOLA.com, "Monster in Our Midst: A timeline of George Brignac's abuse in New Orleans-area churches," 16 Dec. 2020 Hunters previously used fladry to funnel wolves into an ambush area, but scientists now champion the tool to spare them. Max G. Levy, Smithsonian Magazine, "These Non-Lethal Methods Encouraged by Science Can Keep Wolves From Killing Livestock," 11 Dec. 2020 That allowed more room for shifting resources and bringing in medical professionals from areas that could spare them. Jaclyn Cosgrove, Los Angeles Times, "Staffing shortages feared at some California hospitals as COVID-19 fills up beds," 4 Dec. 2020 Many have cared for their neighbors who are most at risk by delivering supplies to spare them from danger. courant.com, "Gov. Ned Lamont’s Thanksgiving message to state: I am grateful to live in Connecticut," 26 Nov. 2020 Though a successful and long-awaited dam system, deployed for the first time last month, will spare the city from future tides exceeding 4 feet, there is much more to be done in the preservation of Venice. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Margherita Missoni Wants Your Help Saving Venice," 17 Nov. 2020 The four activists met on Zoom throughout July and August, whenever all of them could spare time from their day jobs. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "How to Stop a Power Grab," 16 Nov. 2020 But 32 were in staff who had been working on premises at the headquarters building, indicating that the health agency's strict hygiene, screening and other prevention measures were not sufficient to spare it from the pandemic. NBC News, "65 Covid cases reported in WHO staff based at Geneva headquarters," 16 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Doubtless her mother would have tutored her on the importance of submitting to her husband and producing an heir and a spare. Rosie Knight, refinery29.com, "7 Things Bridgerton Gets Spot On About Regency London," 11 Jan. 2021 The short answer is it’s natural for that to happen, that the heir and the spare would go off on very different courses. Rachel Burchfield, Glamour, "Could Queen Elizabeth II Be the Last Queen of England?," 21 Dec. 2020 That’s how much our 1988 Chevy Suburban’s full-size spare weighed. J. Shannon Roe, The Christian Science Monitor, "My helper was closer than I thought," 2 Dec. 2020 Get to a repair shop ASAP for pro help, being sure to drive within the spare’s speed and mileage restrictions. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "How to Change a Tire, According to Car Pros," 4 Dec. 2020 Meanwhile, a solution to lifting the spare began to emerge. J. Shannon Roe, The Christian Science Monitor, "My helper was closer than I thought," 2 Dec. 2020 But that’s not necessarily the case, even though your run-flat car won’t have a spare. Ben Stewart, Popular Mechanics, "Tire Buying 101: Which Ones Does Your Car Need?," 11 Nov. 2020 But just as crucial is cleaning up an imperfect first shot by knocking down any pins still standing to pick up the spare. Buddy Collings, orlandosentinel.com, "FHSAA state bowling contenders include Apopka, Oviedo, Winter Park," 2 Nov. 2020 Helena Bonham Carter, who returns as Princess Margaret, welcomes the chance to carry the troubled spare into her fifth decade. Elizabeth Holmes, Town & Country, "A Royally Candid Interview with The Crown's Emma Corrin, Josh O'Connor, and Emerald Fennell," 21 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for spare

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for spare

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spare. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for spare

spare

adjective
How to pronounce spare (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of spare

 (Entry 1 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

verb

English Language Learners Definition of spare (Entry 2 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

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 How to pronounce spare (audio) \
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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Comments on spare

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