• synonyms


noun (used with a plural verb)
  1. a cut of meat from the rib section, especially of pork or beef, with some meat adhering to the bones.
  2. a dish of this meat, usually baked, roasted, or barbecued with a pungent sauce.
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Origin of spareribs

1590–1600; transposed variant of earlier ribspare < Middle Low German ribbespēr rib cut; compare obsolete spare a cut, slice
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Word Origin and History for spare ribs


1590s, from spare (adj.) meaning "absence of fat," or perhaps from Middle Low German ribbesper "spare ribs," from sper "spit," from Proto-Germanic *speru, from PIE *sper- "pole, spear," related to spar (n.1).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper