• (RP) IPA: /ˈspɛə(ɹ)/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈspɛəɹ/

spare (comparative sparer, superlative sparest)

  1. Scanty; not abundant or plentiful.
    a spare diet
  2. Sparing; frugal; parsimonious; chary.
    • He was spare, but discreet of speech.
  3. Being over and above what is necessary, or what must be used or reserved; not wanted, or not used; superfluous.
    I have no spare time.
    • if that no spare clothes he had to give
  4. Held in reserve, to be used in an emergency.
    a spare anchor; a spare bed or room
  5. Lean; wanting flesh; meager; thin; gaunt.
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene ii]:
      O, give me the spare men, and spare me the great ones.
  6. (UK, informal) Very angry; frustrated or distraught.
    When he found out that someone had broken the window, he went spare.
    The poor girl is going spare, stuck in the house all day with the kids like that.
    • 2006, Tate Hallaway, Tall, Dark & Dead:
      “That'll drive him spare.”
  7. (obsolete, UK, dialect) Slow.
Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • French: rechange
  • Italian: di scorta, di riserva, di ricambio
  • Russian: запасно́й
  • Spanish: de reserva (loc.)
Translations Noun

spare (plural spares)

  1. The act of sparing; moderation; restraint.
    • Killing for sacrifice, without any spare.
  2. Parsimony; frugal use.
    • Poured out their plenty without spite or spare.
  3. An opening in a petticoat or gown; a placket.
  4. That which has not been used or expended.
  5. A spare part, especially a spare tire.
  6. A superfluous or second-best person, specially (in a dynastic context) in the phrase "An heir and a spare".
  7. (bowling) The right of bowling again at a full set of pins, after having knocked all the pins down in less than three bowls. If all the pins are knocked down in one bowl it is a double spare; in two bowls, a single spare.
  8. (bowling) The act of knocking down all remaining pins in second ball of a frame; this entitles the pins knocked down on the next ball to be added to the score for that frame.
  9. (Canada) A free period; a block of school during which one does not have a class.

spare (spares, present participle sparing; past and past participle spared)

  1. To show mercy.
    1. (intransitive) To desist; to stop; to refrain.
    2. (intransitive) To refrain from inflicting harm; to use mercy or forbearance.
    3. (transitive) To preserve from danger or punishment; to forbear to punish, injure, or harm; to show mercy.
      • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Proverbs 6:34 ↗:
        For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
      • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
        Kill me, if you please, or spare me.
  2. To keep.
    1. (intransitive) To be frugal; not to be profuse; to live frugally; to be parsimonious.
    2. (transitive) To keep to oneself; to forbear to impart or give.
      Spare the rod and spoil the child.
      • 1667, John Milton, “Book III”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
        Thou that day / Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare
      • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Proverbs 17:27 ↗:
        He that hath knowledge, spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.
    3. (transitive) To save or gain, as by frugality; to reserve, as from some occupation, use, or duty.
  3. (transitive) (to give up) To deprive oneself of, as by being frugal; to do without; to dispense with; to give up; to part with.
    • ante 1779 Earl of Roscommon, “The Twenty-second Ode of the First Book of Horace”:
      Where angry Jove did never spare / One breath of kind and temperate air.
    • circa 1597 William Shakespeare, The History of Henry the Fourth (Part 1), Act V, scene iv:
      Poor Jack, farewell! / I could have better spared a better man
  • Spanish: apiadarse

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