- economical (often followed by in or of).
- lenient or merciful.
- scanty; limited.
Origin of sparing
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- 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 sparing
In addition to sparing their lives, Kruger offered the prisoners better food and other privileges for their hard work.On the Trail of Nazi Counterfeiters
Dr. Kevin C. Ruffner
September 20, 2014
His body had caught the impact, sparing the lives of two of his friends.“Bring Our Boys Home!” Say the Wives of Ukraine’s Soldiers
August 1, 2014
As he rode away, the redheaded wildling filled her lover with three arrows, sparing his life.Game of Thrones’ Rose Leslie on Ygritte and Jon Snow’s Reunion at the Battle of Castle Black
June 10, 2014
A commotion has erupted in one of the dressing rooms, sparing me more reminiscences from Tyrone.The Stacks: The Neville Brothers Stake Their Claim as Bards of the Bayou
John Ed Bradley
April 27, 2014
He drank less for a while, was sparing with drugs, and sang gospel songs to the crowds who greeted his return.The Strange and Mysterious Death of Mrs. Jerry Lee Lewis
Richard Ben Cramer
January 11, 2014
"Well, I'm not sparing you the 'Be—'," said Donald, busy with the fastenings of the lunch basket.Her Father's Daughter
Many of our most energetic and useful workers have been but sparing readers.Self-Help
But it doesn't present itself to me as a ground for sparing the older generation.The Coryston Family
Mrs. Humphry Ward
But after a quarrel, when the laundress had bullied her, the old woman was not sparing in her allusions.L'Assommoir
Was this his clemency—this sparing of my life that he might submit it to an eternal shame?The Shame of Motley
- (sometimes foll by with or of) economical or frugal (with)
- scanty; meagre
- merciful or lenient
- (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 sparing
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.