- 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
Synonyms for spareSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Words for sparenesssimplicity, severity, bareness, economy, plainness, spareness, baldness, primitiveness, delicacy, inadequacy, rarity, scantiness, emaciation, meagerness, fineness, shallowness, sparseness, gauntness, tenuity, dourness
Examples from the Web for spareness
Historical Examples of spareness
People judged by his spareness: he wished he could get a little fatter.Johnny Ludlow, Fourth Series
Mrs. Henry Wood
She fretted over the spareness of the younger girl, who ate only when she was urged.The Plow-Woman
Modern simplicity must show the spareness of asceticism, not the leanness of anmia.Essays
Arthur Christopher Benson
The well-rounded form took away all hint of spareness, while it did not destroy the promise of endurance.Winning the Wilderness
Margaret Hill McCarter
Griffeth's figure was slight to spareness, and save in moments of excitement there was something of languor in his movements.The Lord of Dynevor
- (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 for spare
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.
In addition to the idioms beginning with spare
- spare the rod and spoil the child
- spare tire
- to spare