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 spareable (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 And as clever as Urban Putt’s designs are, certain holes looked spare and straightforward. John Wenzel, The Know, "Urban Putt transforms Denver’s Old Spaghetti Factory into surreal mini-golf playground (with a bar)," 13 Sep. 2019 The shop’s aesthetic is spare and understated, but the stock is not: Each table and bookcase is piled with titles of all sizes, formats and colors. Michael Hingston, Washington Post, "In London, it’s easy to find a bookshop that floats your boat. (Really. One is on a barge.)," 13 Sep. 2019 The table is undressed and bare oak, no table cloth is fresh and spare, and bare wood is beautiful and clean in the summer. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Setting the Mood: 6 Tastemakers Create Their Dream Summer Table Settings," 29 Aug. 2019 These two novels, so spare and rigorous, so artistically correct, so thorough in their psychological realism, are the highest expression of the triangular purity of their author’s strange and beautiful esthétique. Rachel Cusk, The New Yorker, "Françoise Sagan, the Great Interrogator of Morality," 21 Aug. 2019 Mark Mendelson’s rotating set impressively conjures the movie’s many locations with spare but effective details. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Big’ in Berkeley shows not every movie should be a musical," 24 June 2019 The Skai, which was designed by BMW Group's Designworks studio, certainly looks futuristic, spare, and sleek. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Could This Hydrogen-Powered Drone Make Flying Transportation Possible?," 30 May 2019 Who among us doesn’t love looking at real estate listings in their spare time? Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "This Bluestone House in Australia Is an Unexpected Find in a Sea of Listings," 11 Sep. 2019 At the same time, the nation’s 10th largest city is home to thousands of empty nesters and retired homeowners with spare bedrooms who are looking for a bit of extra income or companionship. Emily Deruy, The Mercury News, "Pilot program pairs empty nesters with young people doing service year," 3 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Forecasters say Dorian may spare the U.S. a direct hit, but will move close to Florida's east coast late Monday. CBS News, "Hurricane Dorian pummels Bahamas as monster Category 4 storm," 2 Sep. 2019 Jay Sebring, Tate’s ex-boyfriend and still a close friend, died pleading with them to spare the life of Tate, who was 8½ months pregnant. al, "Alabama born celebrity hairdresser died defending Sharon Tate from Manson Family," 9 Aug. 2019 Attorney Wesley Van Winkle, who argued Molano’s appeal, said additional issues were pending before the court, including a claim that his trial lawyer had failed to uncover facts in his past that might have persuaded the jury to spare his life. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Court upholds death sentence of Hayward man convicted in 1995 rape, strangling," 27 June 2019 Despite the loss, Italy -- which had qualified for the knockout stages for the first time since 1991 with a game to spare -- topped Group C on goal difference. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Brazil great Marta makes history with 17th World Cup goal," 18 June 2019 The sentence came despite the plea from Jones’ ex-wife, who was the mother of the kids, to spare his life. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "Despite Plea by Ex-Wife to Spare His Life, S.C. Man Who Killed Their 5 Kids Is Sentenced to Death," 13 June 2019 But the reputation that Synenberg has amassed over a nearly four-decade legal career, as well as his quick admission on Tuesday to sending the letter, could ultimately spare his license, the experts said. Cory Shaffer, cleveland.com, "Legal experts stunned by attorney Roger Synenberg’s ‘astonishingly terrible judgment’ in sending anonymous letter calling Cuyahoga County auditor a ‘snitch’," 5 June 2019 Indeed, Vodafone is trying to spare investors this pain entirely. Washington Post, "Vodafone’s $4.5 Billion Happy Meal for Hedge Funds," 18 Sep. 2019 And Purdey, the lone female, on looks alone, would take after Winchester, her father and an intense bird dog with style to spare. Anchorage Daily News, "Advice on how to pick a puppy (from someone who picked the whole litter)," 17 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But rave reviews and the marquee power of Gyllenhaal and, to a lesser extent, Sturridge, showed that this kind of spare, elemental storytelling could work. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Sea Wall/A Life' Becomes First Broadway Show of the 2019-20 Season in the Black," 1 Oct. 2019 In the second game, Lillian had two spares on the way to a score that couldn’t have been more perfect. Steve Lopezcolumnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: She drives a convertible and bowls her age: 100, to be exact," 18 Sep. 2019 The design is based on Wright’s spare, functional Usonian principles. oregonlive, "Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale leads a $5 singalong fundraiser at Oregon’s only Frank Lloyd Wright house," 12 Sep. 2019 After starting the match with three spares, O’Keefe followed with four strikes in a row to seize control. Stephen Ruiz, orlandosentinel.com, "Reigning Player of Year captures PWBA Orlando Open at Boardwalk Bowl," 17 Aug. 2019 Hancock fills in so much of the spare script with her quiet control, her expressive face and eyes. Mark Kennedy, chicagotribune.com, "‘Edie’ review: An 83-year-old woman tackles a mountain in this breath of fresh air from Scotland," 12 Sep. 2019 Even if the idea of stashing your phone away for a while seems preposterous, some people do keep spares around just in case. David Nield, WIRED, "How To Get the Most Out of Your Smartphone Battery," 25 Aug. 2019 The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a spare-the-air alert for Monday, with air quality in the region measuring as unhealthy for sensitive groups. Ashley Mcbride, SFChronicle.com, "Record-setting temperatures concern Bay Area weather officials," 10 June 2019 Hours later, the defaced portrait was taken down and replaced with a spare. Amy Qin, BostonGlobe.com, "Wang Guodong, who painted and maintained Mao Zedong’s official portrait, dies at 88," 29 Aug. 2019

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

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for spare

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

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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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