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 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 How to pronounce spareable (audio) \ 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

In her spare time, Meiler, who serves on the board of directors for the Vermont Senior Games, visits local exercise facilities to distribute fliers and spread the word about senior athletics. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Meet Flo Filion Meiler, the 84-Year-Old Track and Field Athlete With Over 775 Medals," 26 Apr. 2019 As the Silicon Valley auto maker’s U.S. sales approach those of other luxury auto makers, the WSJ’s Tim Higgins reports Tesla is facing growing challenges getting spare parts in place to maintain and repair the growing electric-car fleet. Paul Page, WSJ, "Today’s Logistics Report: Rising Port Waters; Suppliers Raise Prices; Tesla’s Slow-Moving Parts," 11 Feb. 2019 That's more than $250 million dollars' worth of business, not counting spare parts. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Open mind, wide open throttle: We go to our first NASCAR race," 15 Nov. 2018 After a few hours, passengers disembarked the plane and received news that the flight had been delayed a whopping 27 hours, while the spare part was flown over on British Airways Flight 2037 from Gatwick to Orlando. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Flight Was Delayed for 3 Days—Here's Everything That Went Wrong," 5 Nov. 2018 Aside from the aforementioned role in Lords of Chaos, De La Torre also apparently plays guitar in his spare time (Condor liked the photo below, because, well, obviously). Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Who Is Anthony De La Torre, Lana Condor's Boyfriend and Fellow Actor?," 7 Feb. 2019 When not needed, the divider hides down below in the spare-tire compartment. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "2019 Chevy Blazer Test Drive: What Happened When GM Tried To Make the Crossover Cool," 4 Feb. 2019 And there’s a storage compartment in the floor of the bed that’s big enough for a spare tire. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "The all-electric Rivian R1T is a dream truck for adventurers," 26 Nov. 2018 Theft The cover of a spare tire was stolen off a car parked in a driveway on the first block of South Home Avenue overnight between May 25 and May 25, police said. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Park Ridge police: Edison Park man charged with trespassing at church chapel," 8 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Any closet can spare an extra hanger for just one of these seasonal picks. Glamour, "26 Spring Dresses Under $100 to Buy Now," 14 Mar. 2019 Pedro Flores, a prolific Chicago drug dealer whom Mr. Guzmán had personally courted, contacted law enforcement and began recording conversations in a bid to spare his family from a life of crime. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Help! My Boss Is El Chapo," 12 Jan. 2019 Got to the airport (LAX) with time to spare ☺ Flew in a small plane, ½ empty, with 4 colleagues = cool! Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Getting around the Bay Area with Chanell Fletcher," 21 Dec. 2018 James is always spectacular in elimination games, and a solid showing from him Friday night will spare him at least some of the annoying legacy chatter. Rohan Nadkarni, SI.com, "Will the Warriors Complete a Statement-Making Sweep of the Cavs?," 8 June 2018 Passengers with at least six hours to spare can take a free city tour, lounge by the swimming pool, or binge-watch flicks at the free 24-hour cinema. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Airports in the World: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 As a result of close cooperation of Belgian, French and German authorities, a major terror plot in Europe was thwarted with a few hours to spare. Hossein Abedini, WSJ, "Iranian Terror on European Soil," 23 July 2018 Looking to get outside in the Anchorage area and don't have 12 hours to spare to trek into the wilderness? Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "12 Anchorage-area hikes you can do in about 5 hours or less," 15 June 2018 But overestimating airport crowds and arriving to your boarding gate with three hours to spare is darn annoying, too. Southern Living, "Want to Spend Less Time Waiting in Airport Security Lines? Get This App," 24 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But beyond the gorgeous bottles, high-end brands are also taking a spare-no-expense approach to formulating what goes into them to deliver results that are truly worth posting about. Glamour, "Beauty Awards: The 17 Best Skin Care Products of 2019," 25 Mar. 2019 Once there, airlines are left without their usual ground crews, staff or spare planes. Alison Sider, WSJ, "United Airlines to Review ‘Worst Travel Nightmare’," 21 Jan. 2019 The installation, spread over several galleries, is spare and likewise lends coherence to what could have been a kind of painterly cacophony. Peter Plagens, WSJ, "‘Charline von Heyl: Snake Eyes’ Review: A Pro in Need of Poetry," 18 Dec. 2018 Visitors enter through a narrow passage into a spare, traditional looking chapel whose apse wall is pockmarked with charcoal pieces framing a wooden cross. Elisabetta Povoledo, New York Times, "The Most Surprising Entry in Venice’s Architecture Biennale? The Vatican’s," 25 May 2018 Having a spare means a sharp blade on hand and ready to go at a moment's notice. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "Do I Need To Change My Lawnmower Blades?," 22 Jan. 2019 That's enough to fit out a wing of 72 aircraft, divided into three squadrons of 24 planes each, with eight spares. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Air Force Is Buying New F-15s After All," 19 Feb. 2019 In 2018, amid an ongoing affordable housing, prefab manufacturer LivingHomes dove deeper into accessory dwelling units (ADUs), introducing compact designs that can act as a spare room in the backyard or a standalone tiny home. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "The 7 most impressive prefab homes from 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 Finally, double check that your car has a spare (in working condition!). Brigitt Earley, Woman's Day, "6 Ways to Stay Safe on Your Next Family Road Trip," 29 Nov. 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

12 May 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

adjective

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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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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