un·​spar·​ing | \ˌən-ˈsper-iŋ \

Definition of unsparing 

1 : not merciful or forbearing : hard, ruthless an unsparing satire an unsparing critic

2 : not frugal : liberal, profuse unsparing generosity

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Other Words from unsparing

unsparingly \ ˌən-​ˈsper-​iŋ-​lē \ adverb

Examples of unsparing in a Sentence

neighbors were unsparing in their charity when a local family was rendered homeless by a fire unsparing in his criticism of the welfare state

Recent Examples on the Web

More than anything, this emotionally unsparing but never-punishing movie feels like the work of someone who kept his eyes and ears wide open. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Review: Bo Burnham's 'Eighth Grade' is a beautifully honest portrait of adolescent girlhood," 11 July 2018 His most popular projects — all unsparing portraits of bureaucratic ineptitude — have alternated between skewering British and American politics but each is infused with his uniquely acerbic, cringe-inducing sense of humor. Isaac Feldberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Armando Iannucci sees the humor in history — even when it comes to Stalin," 8 Mar. 2018 Lukach’s voice — unsparing and even ruthless, but grounded in love — helps the book vault past the stereotype of an illness memoir. UNDERGROUND FUGUE, by Margot Singer. Joumana Khatib, New York Times, "New in Paperback: ‘The Book That Changed America,’ ‘Manhattan Beach’," 22 June 2018 In Kevin Macdonald’s captivating documentary, Whitney, the Oscar-winning director casts a compassionate, but unsparing eye on the multiple Grammy winner, who died in 2012 at 48. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "'Whitney' Director Kevin Macdonald on Capturing Houston's Magical Rise and Tragic Fall," 3 July 2018 But the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 subsequently paved the way for particularly unsparing investigations of the practices of a socialist regime that was in large part overthrown by its own people. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "Families used to be split up in East Germany, too. It caused lifelong trauma.," 30 May 2018 The accompaniment is raw, stripped down, and often blues-inflected as Reilly confronts a dystopian world and his own shortcomings with unsparing candor and cutting humor. Philly.com, "Manayunk Arts Festival, Juneteenth, Bluebird Distilling 3rd Anniversary Party, and other events in Philadelphia, June 22-29," 21 June 2018 The 59-page report offers an unsparing analysis of the agency's history of responding to problems involving its deputies. Noelle Crombie, OregonLive.com, "Sheriff's Office repeatedly ignored detective who bungled sex crime cases: audit," 12 June 2018 The movie runs down some dispiriting statistics (there are less than 50,000 Asian elephants alive today), and is unsparing in showing the cruelty required to train an elephant to perform tricks and give rides to humans. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Love & Bananas,’ Uncovering the Plight of the Asian Elephant," 26 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unsparing.' 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 unsparing

circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for unsparing

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for unsparing

The first known use of unsparing was circa 1586

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English Language Learners Definition of unsparing

: very harsh or severe

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by force of circumstances

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