- to refrain from harming or destroying; leave uninjured; forbear to punish, hurt, or destroy: to spare one's enemy.
- to deal gently or leniently with; show consideration for: His harsh criticism spared no one.
- to save from strain, discomfort, embarrassment, or the like, or from a particular cause of it: to spare him the bother; to spare her needless embarrassment.
- to refrain from, forbear, omit, or withhold, as action or speech: Spare us the gory details.
- to refrain from employing, as some instrument or recourse: to spare the rod.
- to set aside for a particular purpose: to spare land for a garden.
- to give or lend, as from a supply, especially without inconvenience or loss: Can you spare a cup of sugar? Can you spare me a dollar till payday?
- to dispense with or do without: We can't spare a single worker during the rush hour.
- to use economically or frugally; refrain from using up or wasting: A walnut sundae, and don't spare the whipped cream!
- to have remaining as excess or surplus: We can make the curtains and have a yard to spare.
- to use economy; be frugal.
- to refrain from inflicting injury or punishment; exercise lenience or mercy.
- Obsolete. to refrain from action; forbear.
- kept in reserve, as for possible use: a spare part.
- being in excess of present need; free for other use: spare time.
- frugally restricted or meager, as a manner of living or a diet: a spare regime.
- lean or thin, as a person.
- scanty or scant, as in amount or fullness.
- economical, moderate, or temperate, as persons; sparing.
- a spare thing, part, etc., as an extra tire for emergency use.
- Ceramics. an area at the top of a plaster mold for holding excess slip.
- the knocking down of all the pins with two bowls.
- a score so made.Compare strike(def 69).
Origin of spare
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for spared
If they returned to their church, they would be spared a second attack.Dr. King Goes to Hollywood: The Flawed History of ‘Selma’
January 2, 2015
If Bush-Portman is the Republican nightmare ticket for Democrats, however, they may be spared.Hillary Adviser: Bush-Portman Ticket Could Doom Dems in 2016
November 21, 2014
And when we have been spared such tragedy, it has happened precisely because presidents have stood up to the bully caucus.Please—Let's Not Destroy ISIS
September 15, 2014
Victoria and I were spared that, at least, but we were down to T-shirts and thin blouses.Spirit Tripping With Colombian Shamans
August 24, 2014
But the one-term Republican could still be spared from rejection.Could Maine Re-Elect Its Wingnut Governor Paul LePage?
August 21, 2014
They carried the Weapon which spared not, nor flinched from the battle.
They carried the Weapon27 which spared not, nor flinched from the battle.
He begged and implored that his life might be spared, promising to tell all that might be asked of him.Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
The words, of her age, piqued me; and I spared no pains to make him forget them.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
For your sake also I have spared your father when I had but to make a sign to remove him from my path.Fair Margaret
H. Rider Haggard
- (tr) to refrain from killing, punishing, harming, or injuring
- (tr) to release or relieve, as from pain, suffering, etc
- (tr) to refrain from usingspare the rod, spoil the child
- (tr) to be able to afford or giveI can't spare the time
- (usually passive) (esp of Providence) to allow to surviveI'll see you again next year if we are spared
- (intr) rare to act or live frugally
- (intr) rare to show mercy
- not spare oneself to exert oneself to the full
- to spare more than is requiredtwo minutes to spare
- (often immediately postpositive) in excess of what is needed; additionalare there any seats spare?
- able to be used when neededa spare part
- (of a person) thin and lean
- scanty or meagre
- (postpositive) British slang upset, angry, or distracted (esp in the phrase go spare)
- a duplicate kept as a replacement in case of damage or loss
- a spare tyre
- tenpin bowling
- the act of knocking down all the pins with the two bowls of a single frame
- the score thus madeCompare strike (def. 40)
Word Origin and History for spared
Old English sparian "to refrain from harming, to allow to go free," from the source of Old English spær "sparing, frugal," from Proto-Germanic *sparaz (cf. Old Frisian sparia, Old Norse spara, Old High German sparon "to spare"). Meaning "to dispense from one's own stock" is recorded from early 13c. Related: Spared; sparing.
"kept in reserve, not used," late 14c., from spare (v.). Old English had spær "spare, frugal." In reference to time, from mid-15c.; sense of "flimsy, thin" is recorded from 1540s. Spare part is attested from 1888.
"extra thing or part," 1640s, from spare (v.). Middle English noun sense was "mercy, leniency" (early 14c.). Bowling sense of "a knocking down of all pins in two bowls" is attested from 1849, American English.