Thesaurus

spare

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of spare

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 to use or give out in stingy amounts
  • I'll have a banana split—and don't spare the whipped cream

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2 to avoid unnecessary waste or expense
  • she had grown up during the Great Depression, so she was no stranger to sparing

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spare

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of spare (Entry 2 of 3)

4 less plentiful than what is normal, necessary, or desirable
  • spare vegetation that made foraging very difficult

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spare

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of spare (Entry 3 of 3)

an interchangeable part or piece of equipment that is kept on hand for replacement of an original
  • we promptly replaced the burnt-out lightbulb with a spare

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About spare

How does the adjective spare contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of spare are gaunt, lanky, lank, lean, rawboned, scrawny, and skinny. While all these words mean "thin because of an absence of excess flesh," spare suggests leanness from abstemious living or constant exercise.

the gymnast's spare figure

When could gaunt be used to replace spare?

The words gaunt and spare are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, gaunt implies marked thinness or emaciation as from overwork or suffering.

a prisoner's gaunt face

When is lank a more appropriate choice than spare?

The meanings of lank and spare largely overlap; however, lank implies tallness as well as leanness.

the lank legs of the heron

When is it sensible to use lanky instead of spare?

In some situations, the words lanky and spare are roughly equivalent. However, lanky suggests awkwardness and loose-jointedness as well as thinness.

a lanky youth, all arms and legs

When can lean be used instead of spare?

The synonyms lean and spare are sometimes interchangeable, but lean stresses lack of fat and of curving contours.

a lean racehorse

When would rawboned be a good substitute for spare?

The words rawboned and spare can be used in similar contexts, but rawboned suggests a large ungainly build without implying undernourishment.

a rawboned farmer

How do scrawny and skinny relate to one another, in the sense of spare?

Both scrawny and skinny imply an extreme leanness that suggests deficient strength and vitality.

a scrawny chicken

skinny street urchins

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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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Cite this Entry

“Spare.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/spare. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on spare

Dictionary: Definition of 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

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