Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To refrain from treating harshly; treat mercifully or leniently.
  • transitive v. To refrain from harming or destroying.
  • transitive v. To save or relieve from experiencing or doing (something): spared herself the trouble of going.
  • transitive v. To hold back from; withhold or avoid: spared no expense for the celebration.
  • transitive v. To use with restraint: Don't spare the mustard.
  • transitive v. To give or grant out of one's resources; afford: Can you spare ten minutes?
  • intransitive v. To be frugal.
  • intransitive v. To refrain from inflicting harm; be merciful or lenient.
  • adj. Kept in reserve: a spare part; a spare pair of sneakers.
  • adj. Being in excess of what is needed; extra. See Synonyms at superfluous.
  • adj. Free for other use; unoccupied: spare time.
  • adj. Not lavish, abundant, or excessive: a spare diet.
  • adj. Lean and trim. See Synonyms at lean2.
  • adj. Not profuse or copious.
  • n. A replacement, especially a tire, reserved for future need.
  • n. Sports The act of knocking down all ten pins with two successive rolls of a bowling ball.
  • n. Sports The score so made.
  • idiom to spare In addition to what is needed: We paid our bills and had money to spare.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. scanty; not abundant or plentiful.
  • adj. sparing; frugal; parsimonious; chary.
  • adj. Being over and above what is necessary, or what must be used or reserved; not wanted, or not used; superfluous.
  • adj. Held in reserve, to be used in an emergency; as, a spare anchor; a spare bed or room.
  • adj. lean; wanting flesh; meager; thin; gaunt.
  • adj. slow
  • n. The act of sparing; moderation; restraint.
  • n. Parsimony; frugal use.
  • n. An opening in a petticoat or gown; a placket.
  • n. That which has not been used or expended.
  • n. A spare part, especially a spare tire.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • v. : To desist; to stop; to refrain.
  • v. : To refrain from inflicting harm; to use mercy or forbearance.
  • v. : To preserve from danger or punishment; to forbear to punish, injure, or harm; to show mercy.
  • v. : To be frugal; not to be profuse; to live frugally; to be parsimonious.
  • v. : To keep to one's self; to forbear to impart or give.
  • v. : To save or gain, as by frugality; to reserve, as from some occupation, use, or duty.
  • v. : To deprive one's self of, as by being frugal; to do without; to dispense with; to give up; to part with.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To use frugally or stintingly, as that which is scarce or valuable; to retain or keep unused; to save.
  • transitive v. To keep to one's self; to forbear to impart or give.
  • transitive v. To preserve from danger or punishment; to forbear to punish, injure, or harm; to show mercy to.
  • transitive v. To save or gain, as by frugality; to reserve, as from some occupation, use, or duty.
  • transitive v. To deprive one's self of, as by being frugal; to do without; to dispense with; to give up; to part with.
  • intransitive v. To be frugal; not to be profuse; to live frugally; to be parsimonious.
  • intransitive v. To refrain from inflicting harm; to use mercy or forbearance.
  • intransitive v. To desist; to stop; to refrain.
  • adj. Scanty; not abundant or plentiful.
  • adj. Sparing; frugal; parsimonious; chary.
  • adj. Being over and above what is necessary, or what must be used or reserved; not wanted, or not used; superfluous.
  • adj. Held in reserve, to be used in an emergency
  • adj. Lean; wanting flesh; meager; thin; gaunt.
  • adj. Slow.
  • n. The act of sparing; moderation; restraint.
  • n. Parsimony; frugal use.
  • n. An opening in a petticoat or gown; a placket.
  • n. That which has not been used or expended.
  • n. 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. For the meaning in modern bowling, see sense 6.
  • n. The act of knocking down all ten pins in two bowls, which entitles the bowler to add the number of pins knocked down in the next bowl to the score for the frame in which the spare occurred.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Scanty; meager; frugal; not plentiful or abundant: as, a spare diet.
  • Lacking in substance; lean; gaunt; poor; thin; flimsy.
  • Reserved; chary; cautious.
  • That may be spared, dispensed with, or applied to a different purpose; not needed for regular or appointed uses; superabundant: as, spare time for recreation; spare cash.
  • Reserved front common use; provided or held for extra need; not regularly required: as, a spare anchor; a spare umbrella.
  • In zoology, sparingly distributed; remote from one another; few in number; sparse: as, spare hairs, spots, or punctures.
  • To be frugal, saving, or chary of; refrain from employing freely; use or dispense with moderation.
  • To dispense with; give or yield up; part with the use, possession, or presence of; do without, as for a motive or because of superfluity.
  • To withhold the use or doing of; refrain from; omit; forbear; forego: often with a second (indirect) object.
  • To refrain from injury to; leave unhurt or undisturbed; forbear from harming or destroying; treat with moderation or consideration; withhold severity or exaction from; refrain from unkindness to; specifically, to allow to live.
  • Used reflexively, to be sparing of one's self; be chary or diffident; act with reserve.
  • To be frugal or saving; economize: act parsimoniously or stingily.
  • To withhold action of any kind; refrain from the doing of something, especially something harmful or harsh; hold one's hand; keep quiet; hold off.
  • n. Frugal use: saving economy; moderation; restraint.
  • n. In American holding, an advantage gained by the knocking down of all the pins by rolling two balls: as, to make a spare.
  • n. An opening in a gown or petticoat; a placket.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. save or relieve from an experience or action
  • n. an extra car wheel and tire for a four-wheel vehicle
  • n. a score in tenpins; knocking down all ten after rolling two balls
  • v. use frugally or carefully
  • adj. kept in reserve especially for emergency use
  • adj. lacking embellishment or ornamentation
  • n. an extra component of a machine or other apparatus
  • adj. thin and fit
  • v. refrain from harming
  • adj. more than is needed, desired, or required
  • adj. lacking in amplitude or quantity
  • adj. not taken up by scheduled activities
  • v. give up what is not strictly needed

Etymologies

Middle English sparen, from Old English sparian.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Old English spær 'sparing, scant', from Proto-Germanic *sparaz (cf. Dutch spaarzaam, German spärlich, Icelandic sparr), from Proto-Indo-European *sper- (cf. Latin prosper ‘lucky’, Old Church Slavonic sporŭ ‘plentiful’, Albanian shperr ‘to earn money’, Ancient Greek sparnós ‘rare’, Sanskrit sphirá ‘thick’). (Wiktionary)
Old English sparian (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • to go spare = to get angry, to go berserk

    "They'd worn a track across the weeds since dawn, and the cratchety tinkle of that little bell had driven her spare, but she wasn't going to go down there early and give her tenants the satisfaction of gloating."
    Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, p 57 of the Graywolf Press hardcover edition

    March 29, 2010

  • Contronymic in the sense: lean vs. excess (to spare).

    January 27, 2007