Definition of spare in English:

spare

adjective

  • 1Additional to what is required for ordinary use.

    ‘few people had spare cash for inessentials’
    • ‘A part of an atom is an electron and in some materials, like metal, atoms can have a few of these spare.’
    • ‘Many Beninese enjoy soft drinks and beer, but these require spare cash.’
    • ‘In reality the schemes are flawed because people don't have this kind of spare money, therefore a cheap, fairer scheme is required.’
    • ‘Ask that extra, spare equipment be included for your computer training class!’
    • ‘Some were defective when they arrived in the theater and lacked enough spare parts to effect repairs.’
    • ‘Purchase a spare pair of needle nose pliers, regular pliers, a hammer and one of those screwdrivers with all four heads in one handle.’
    • ‘This space is reserved as a spare area for products with all primary defects and some secondary defects.’
    • ‘Make sure that you know how to switch off the mains supply at the fuse box, and store spare fuses in a handy place.’
    • ‘It was very cold there, but luckily I had those spare clothes just perfect for the occasion, so I did not freeze outside.’
    • ‘The large, silvery cradle - which has an embedded Dell logo that glows blue when the PDA is connected - has a secondary bay for recharging spare batteries.’
    • ‘There was always spare food for seconds, as well as thirds and sometimes fourths.’
    • ‘I opened the door with my spare key and stepped inside my dark house.’
    • ‘By the spring of 1995, two spare trading pits had been built in an industrial section of Queens.’
    • ‘The spare tire is mounted at an angle and folds up with the rear.’
    • ‘In New Zealand, over 400 schools have more than 30 percent spare capacity.’
    • ‘My spare trainers (alternatives to the ones which still dangle over the front garden, stinking like a couple of dead rats) are relatively easy to find.’
    • ‘Apache always tries to maintain several spare or idle server processes, which are ready to serve incoming requests.’
    • ‘The other leg compartment was empty, but I think it was to hold spare ammunition or something.’
    • ‘At the end of most days, I empty my pockets of all my spare change and deposit all coins under £1 into his money box.’
    • ‘None of their staff would talk to me (and they had spare staff).’
    • ‘He said he was more worried about oil supply bottlenecks, low inventories and, in particular, very low spare output capacity.’
    extra, supplementary, additional, second, another, alternative, emergency, reserve, backup, relief, fallback, substitute, fresh, auxiliary, ancillary
    surplus, surplus to requirements, superfluous, too many, too much, supernumerary, excessive, in excess, going begging
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Not currently in use or occupied.
      ‘a spare seat’
      • ‘He led her to his motorcycle, pulling up the seat and removing a spare helmet.’
      • ‘I found myself fretting almost uncontrollably at the sides of the boys who carried Will to a spare spot under a vacant tree.’
      • ‘Marco actually reached for the spare sheet of paper on Nick's otherwise vacant desk, but Nick brought his fist down hard onto Marco's fingers.’
      • ‘He found a counter with some spare room and set the rifle down there, giving it as close an exam as he could in the dim light.’
      • ‘Currently he was wearing Drakes best shirt and Javlin's spare pants.’
      • ‘Jurys also has significant spare land around many of its Dublin hotels which offer additional future revenue generating opportunities.’
      • ‘She turned up the heater, turned all vents on the stranger and reached behind her seat for a spare jacket.’
      • ‘Volunteers contribute spare processing time to the project, and currently about 80,000 CPUs are active.’
      • ‘Assuming that a spare piece of cloth could be used for nearly anything, she kept the banner as well.’
      • ‘It's the only spare seat in the whole classroom.’
      • ‘Years ago in the midst's of battling other kings lands, King Valric had found the time and spare men to hunt out the seven tribes of the free people.’
      • ‘When all was done I sat down next to grandpa Mic and waited as people filled the seats around me but there was still a spare chair to my left side.’
      • ‘I've got loans out to three of them, and I told one of them she could move into my spare room if she was tired of her current boyfriend.’
      • ‘Keren occupied only one leaving his spare seats free.’
      • ‘Their contract with SunGard was supposed to give them daily backups, plus spare space in Hoboken, N.J., in case of dislocation.’
      • ‘It's been hard to get a spare second to write with semester finals and the fact that I got a new horse to train.’
      • ‘T5 owners are not being offered a free memory card - their PDAs have plenty of spare memory, said PalmOne.’
      • ‘You do need to open up your case but, since it just requires a spare bracket space, you don't need to worry about slot insertion or other expansion slot issues.’
      • ‘Open crates and various strange pieces of equipment seemed to occupy every spare bit of space.’
      • ‘He stepped out into the warm air and sat down on the spare plastic seat.’
      unbooked, unhired, unallocated, unchartered, unoccupied, untaken, free, empty, vacant
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of time) not taken up by one's usual duties or activities; available for leisure.
      ‘he tried to write poetry in his spare time’
      • ‘He stood up and went to the phone, and as luck would have it, Dr. Olson was in, and had some time spare to check Lauren over.’
      • ‘In his spare hours his interest in music burgeoned.’
      • ‘If you have a spare hour, it's a great way to pass the time.’
      • ‘For most acts, this wouldn't work, but Lemon Jelly has a style that requires headphones and a spare 45 minutes to absorb the album from start to finish.’
      • ‘With more spare time than younger people, we can spend some of it at the casino.’
      • ‘A question from another child revealed Mr Blunkett wishes he had more spare time.’
      • ‘My every spare evening was spent catching up with sleep.’
      • ‘I have more spare time and I'm more perceptive of my life and my surroundings.’
      free, leisure, unoccupied, own
      View synonyms
  • 2With no excess fat; thin.

    ‘a spare, bearded figure’
    • ‘Ellen is a small, spare woman with large dark eyes and skin as brown and dry as leather.’
    • ‘Empty but not hungry, she felt sleek and spare, like a dragonfly.’
    • ‘A tall, spare man with jet black hair leaned over the counter to greet them.’
    • ‘She was spare featured with a thin mouth and rectangular face.’
    • ‘Francis, a tall, spare figure and a devout Christian, was to remain in the hot seat.’
    slender, lean
    View synonyms
  • 3Elegantly simple.

    ‘her clothes are smart and spare in style’
    • ‘They seek to reduce what they see as needless clutter and eye candy, and to fashion beautifully spare pages, focusing on the most pleasing presentation of text.’
    • ‘Critics usually describe Hemingway's style as simple, spare, and journalistic.’
    • ‘Watson's drawing style is spare and square, in the literal sense.’
    • ‘Empty or peopled with bodies, the stage sports the spare, cool stylishness of a contemporary fashion shoot.’
    • ‘Less is definitely more when it comes to dramatizing Hawthorne, and the film is suitably spare and lean, both in style and characterization.’
    • ‘The spare, simple production here has little studio gloss - it's near minimalist - and brings Chapman's warm voice to the fore.’
    • ‘The wall works and the floor sculptures complement the walks, which he documents with elegantly spare photographs.’
    • ‘Instead, it has changed the way we design with wood and focused architectural commentary on factors like economy of use and elegance in spare detailing.’
    • ‘Viewed from any angle, or from either bank, the effect is elegantly spare.’
    • ‘Furnishings in the kitchen and sleeping areas are simple and spare.’
    • ‘Buildings are dotted about a spare landscape resembling a dream-like stage-set; black-clad figures move across the horizon like crows.’
    • ‘All the tunes are by the trio's leader, and are characterised by a spare elegance and melodic accessibility which never tips over into the merely saccharine.’
    • ‘These recordings are spare and simple - just three guys in a room playing clean, clear lines and letting them ring.’
    • ‘It has a distinctly Super Friendz sound: spare guitar work, precise melodies, choral harmonies and explosive drumming.’
    • ‘A committed Catholic, Byrd was able to make his living, and his reputation, writing anthems and services in the vernacular spare style for Anglican worship.’
    • ‘Glazed all along its south side, it offers a simple, spare and sunny series of places that provide a surprising number of possibilities for eating in company.’
    • ‘His musical language is spare in style, its melodies and harmonies based on old church modes and the pentatonic scales of Finnish folk-music.’
    • ‘Shot in black-and-white, this is a visually spare film featuring empty landscapes of sand dunes, sand storms, and unco-operative camels.’
    • ‘The interiors of the units are likewise spare, but evocative at the same time.’
    • ‘It has a beginning, middle, and end, almost a spare and simple story in itself.’

noun

  • 1An item kept in case another item of the same type is lost, broken, or worn out.

    ‘the wheel's broken and it would be suicide to go on without a spare’
    • ‘As Caroline continues to complain, her cell phone battery goes dead; she then demands Ed find her spare in her Louis Vuitton bag in the front seat.’
    • ‘He played his bass like he had five spares waiting backstage.’
    • ‘It doesn't hurt to have one spare, but three is a little too much.’
    • ‘I think the great problem is that there is no real place for the second in line, to have the heir and then as the newspaper said, the spare.’
    • ‘After E, above you put the kit back together and have a large box of spares left over.’
    • ‘Do they sell your make of car in the country you are visiting so spares will be available?’
    • ‘Everybody in the world should buy all Miyazaki's films twice and then give their spares to each other.’
    • ‘You are left with a payload remainder for water, supplies, spares and camping gear.’
    • ‘I thought it was in case one broke down, then he'd probably use that other one as a spare.’
  • 2(in tenpin bowling) an act of knocking down all the pins with two balls.

    • ‘After her first turn, she'd decided to get the five gutter balls out of the way and missed the first ball, then got a spare.’
    • ‘The new balls made strikes much easier, so bowlers began to pay less attention to the complex skill of getting spares.’
    • ‘However, by the sixth frame, she had four strikes and several spares, and my chances of winning weren't looking too great.’
    • ‘This bowling alley has fun graphics to indicate strikes and spares, a loud beep when you step over the line and mysteriously greasy balls.’
    • ‘I threw a gutter ball, screwing up my spare from the frame before.’
    • ‘He knocked down nine pins with his first ball, then picked up the spare.’
    • ‘He started with a 3-10 spare in the first frame before rolling six consecutive strikes.’

verb

  • 1with two objects Give (something of which one has enough) to (someone)

    ‘she asked if I could spare her a bob or two’
    • ‘We're sure readers can spare a couple of quid or dollars.’
    • ‘Dyn was distressed, for he could not spare any of his food so early in his journey.’
    • ‘Can anyone spare me a couple of quid?’
    • ‘My most recent one just said basically that I'm a homeless man, can you spare some change to help me provide some food.’
    • ‘You have all this money and you won't spare enough to let your own child go back home.’
    afford, do without, manage without, get along without, dispense with, part with, give, let someone have, provide
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Make free or available.
      ‘I'm sure you can spare me a moment’
      • ‘It is natural that you should look at this from the point of view of a plaintiff, but spare a moment's thought from the point of view of a defendant.’
      • ‘She had worked on this particular gift every minute and moment she could spare.’
      • ‘And actually, I was honored that he spared some of his very valuable time to meet with me today.’
      • ‘His voice dripped with ironic sarcasm, as he spared a moment to glance at her.’
      • ‘Please spare two minutes of your time and make your vote count.’
      • ‘He's travelled a long way and I'm sure you can spare a day out of your busy schedule to talk to him.’
      • ‘Then without sparing a moment's pity for the fawning, awkward creature that Jonas had become, Christy turned on her heels.’
      • ‘I can't thank enough my friends who spared the time to see me, or even offered me a night's bed.’
      • ‘And at the moment, she just couldn't spare the energy it would take to do the job properly anyway.’
      • ‘I'm afraid I can't spare enough time to participate, but it'll be interesting to observe.’
      • ‘I figure I can spare a moment to go say hello to some old allies.’
      • ‘Can you spare us a minute?’
      • ‘He spared enough time for a smile at Em before returning to his homework.’
      • ‘Arlene spared some of her attention momentarily, to level a glance at her daughter.’
      • ‘If anyone has a REALmagic remote that they could spare for a few weeks, it sure would speed things up a bit.’
      • ‘He spared a moment to take a glance at what was happening.’
      • ‘Sydney gasped at the unpleasant feeling, sparing a hand to press against her jaw.’
      • ‘Are you sometimes at a loose end with the odd morning or afternoon you could spare to help somebody?’
      • ‘You might even spare a thought for those whose whole existence was the scratch of dirt at it's doorstep.’
      • ‘The glance he spared her was only momentary before he refocused steadily forward.’
  • 2with object Refrain from killing, injuring, or distressing.

    ‘there was no way the men would spare her’
    • ‘So how do we find, in this first written record, the prudence that spared until a later date so many lives?’
    • ‘His last words to his estranged son had a prophetic ring: ‘May the Lord spare me until I have taken vengeance upon you.’’
    • ‘The rains in the end of May did not spare even posh areas.’
    • ‘If you are here to confront them, please spare their lives!’
    • ‘When angry Nature struck, sparing nothing in its wake, the citizens of Mumbai, undeterred, fought back.’
    • ‘Obviously God had spared his life for good reason.’
    • ‘I hoped that the rain would spare me at least until the time I reached that spot.’
    • ‘And I have to say that my opinion is with the rest of my family that the fact that her life was spared was enough.’
    • ‘For where is the man who would spare the lives of the vanquished if he saw more profit in killing than in sparing them?…’
    not harm, leave uninjured, leave unhurt
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with two objects Refrain from inflicting (something unpleasant) on (someone)
      ‘the country had until now been spared the violence occurring elsewhere’
      • ‘Unfortunately, he did not spare her a glance as he entered the door.’
      • ‘But these days, there seems to be more mileage in bailing out, gracefully, if possible, and sparing yourself the media's slings and arrows.’
      • ‘The Committee recognise that by admitting all the heads of charge, you have spared Mrs. A the further distress of appearing before the Committee.’
      • ‘At least this time the Patriots spared themselves that sort of crunch by building up an adequate lead that their defense protected.’
      • ‘Much of the film feels profoundly sad, as Donovan spares no unpleasant detail, making for a sobering look at someone so attached to the bottle.’
      • ‘We would have spared ourselves both the agonising process and vicious product of our elaborate schemes.’
      • ‘Some people took the precaution of seeing their doctor in time and thereby spared themselves untold affliction.’
      • ‘Even though God has spared me, I cannot be happy about what happened.’
      • ‘The city's historic center, which had been largely spared massive bombing raids until then, was almost completely destroyed during this attack.’
      • ‘Davidar, wisely, refrained from ever publishing the book, sparing himself the kind of embarrassment that haunts all writers who went with the first draft instead of dumping it in the dustbin.’
      • ‘Kerry stopped short of offering McCain the job, sparing himself an outright rejection that would make his eventual running mate look like a second choice.’
      • ‘The damage to his body from previous injuries had at least spared his voice.’
      • ‘In both cases we have been mercifully spared the full fury.’
      • ‘As children's fears invite adult protection, an anxious child will be spared from unpleasant duties or routines.’
      • ‘And for a family movie set in a restaurant, Campanella mercifully spares us any panting bliss-outs on the sensual nature of food.’
      • ‘Kahn does not spare us his mother's humiliation at his father's hands.’
      • ‘We are spared most of the violence of the situation, and really only see its conclusion.’
      • ‘Edward is a traitor, and it would be best if the future king was spared from any unfortunate incident that may occur.’
      • ‘I was fortunate enough to be spared from any casualties among my close friends and relatives; my future husband was not.’
      • ‘I had hoped that we would be spared what happened here tonight until you all had been hardened by more experience.’
      • ‘New Zealand has been spared, and now radiation has diminished enough to allow this shipload of scientists of all kinds to explore the remains of civilization.’
      • ‘He could have spared himself a major embarrassment by simply not going to Bogor, south of Jakarta, where the meeting was scheduled to have taken place.’
    2. 2.2spare oneselfwith negative Try to ensure or satisfy one's own comfort or needs.
      ‘in her concern to help others, she has never spared herself’
      • ‘No doubt Pat Grant will be lining himself up for a shot at the chair when it falls vacant in five years time, and meantime he'll not be sparing himself in his endeavours to prove his credentials.’
      • ‘I am also impressed by the response and hard work of Mayo Co Council, particularly the outdoor staff who have not spared themselves at this critical time.’
      • ‘You suspect that on the tee, England's fierce head coach might resemble the character from P G Wodehouse who ‘never spared himself in his efforts to do the ball a violent injury‘.’
      • ‘A great communicator and a man of great imagination, novel ideas, and great generosity he has not spared himself in transforming the Diocese since he was consecrated in 1987.’
      • ‘Alliss did not react well to such misfortune and does not spare himself in the telling of the saddest chapter of his endlessly eventful life.’
      • ‘He was always the quiet one to lead by example, never sparing himself.’
      • ‘He was extremely hardworking, never sparing himself in the performance of his duties and once he fainted in his office from exhaustion and almost died.’
      • ‘A coach will use all his powers throughout a match - enlivening, cajoling, goading scolding or sympathizing where appropriate for the personality and the occasion, and not sparing himself until all is won or lost.’
      • ‘Perhaps he spares some of his friends and colleagues in the editing, but he has not spared himself.’
      • ‘That is asking a lot of a player who has been an ever constant for club and county since 1995, and during that eight year spell he has taken the knocks without murmur and has certainly not spared himself.’
  • 3archaic no object Be frugal.

    ‘but some will spend, and some will spare’

Phrases

  • go spare

    • informal Become extremely angry or distraught.

      ‘he'd go spare if he lost the money’
      • ‘‘He just went spare,’ says Dorrie, breaking down.’
      • ‘Your mother actually sent me up, she's going spare downstairs.’
      • ‘I was shocked to see that someone had been digging badgers out - I went spare and my wife had to calm me down.’
      • ‘The garden magpies are going spare just now, burying seeds and nuts in random places.’
      • ‘At the time, Egan and his Chief of Staff, Michael Coutts Trotter, went spare; Egan was still railing against the Opposition's policy as late as October last year.’
      • ‘Nine, Ten, and the ABC would go spare at that.’
      • ‘Their manager was going spare on the sidelines and a few of their players were having a go at each other.’
      • ‘If you were to accuse Patrick Egan or Wayne Ramsay of going spare they probably wouldn't argue with you.’
      • ‘He used to go spare if anyone applied a handbrake without pressing the button on the end of the arm as he considered it the height of laziness to just pull the arm.’
      • ‘I'll be going spare, pleading with you, but you mustn't give in to me - no matter what.’
      • ‘I'm scared and I'd much prefer to stay home and watch TV but I need money and I'll go spare otherwise.’
      become very angry, become enraged, go into a rage, lose one's temper
      View synonyms
  • spare me days!

    • Used as an exclamation, especially of exasperation.

      ‘spare me days, not here!’
      • ‘"Spare me days," said the bloke. "I bet that lot stunk after a while?"’
      • ‘Spare me days, I'll never forget it!’
      • ‘Spare me days, girl, it's not as simple as that!’
      • ‘Spare me days, I hope he's not getting paid by the point!’
      • ‘He dropped his tucker-bag and said, "Well, spare me days”.’
      • ‘"Spare me days if it's not Mrs Gough," he exclaimed, thrusting out a great, grimy paw.’
      • ‘'Well! Spare me days!' he shouted with a wide grin. 'Where did you spring from?'’
      • ‘Spare me days, this is a great game for anybody else with plenty of money.’
      • ‘'Spare me days, you must have had it done to you some time!'’
      • ‘"God spare me days! Is it you, then, chum?" exclaimed Ted.’
  • spare no effort

    • Do everything one possibly can in order to achieve something.

      ‘we will spare no effort to secure the release of the captives’
      • ‘In the itinerant persecution of Christians he spared no effort to stifle the spread of the gospel.’
      • ‘Predictably, China will spare no efforts to block the process.’
      • ‘She was a woman who spared no effort to further the cause she believed in.’
      • ‘Early last July, Economy Minister Nikolai Vassilev said the Government had spared no effort to help the owners immediately resume operation.’
      • ‘Addressing a UN forum in Brasilia on Tuesday night, Silva vowed to spare no effort in the fight against corruption.’
      • ‘Private organizations promoting judicial reform also spared no effort to help.’
      • ‘The directors of almost all the parks are sparing no effort to draw in visitors with new attractions.’
      • ‘In Sligo we are fortunate to have fine coaches, who spare no effort in the preparation of athletes for national competition.’
      • ‘A winner all the way was coach/trainer Mary Morrissey who spared no effort at training sessions to both teams.’
      • ‘Apart from personnel relocation, Huang also spared no effort to improve the work environment for the design team.’
  • spare no expense (or no expense spared)

    • Pay any amount of money in order to achieve something.

      ‘he spared no expense in getting the company off the ground’
      ‘they were determined to find a solution to the problem—no expense spared’
      • ‘Korda apparently spared no expense to achieve the scope and look he had in mind.’
      • ‘Not only were the designs innovative, they were incredibly luxurious, for the designers of the interiors created specifically for the exposition spared no expense to install lavish furnishings.’
      • ‘Owners of the Tokyo Prince Hotel Park Tower spared no expense in building the 33-story, 673-room luxury property in downtown Tokyo.’
      • ‘Encouraged to publish her findings, she spared no expense in preparing the original paintings for a volume on Surinam.’
      • ‘Mr. Harris had not spared any expense, especially now with his wife acting so strangely.’
      • ‘The food is as refined as the surroundings - and like the proprietors, prepare to spare no expense to get the most from your dining experience.’
      • ‘They light firecrackers at night and spare no expense in preparing the feast.’
      • ‘Still, he is known as an engineer/studio owner who will spare no expense to achieve the best sound.’
      • ‘Conor was celebrating his wedding anniversary and told his wife, Mary he would treat her to lavish meal with no expense spared.’
      • ‘It was all arranged by her husband Mattie who spared no expense for the lavish night.’
  • spare a thought for

    • Remember.

      ‘spare a thought for our volunteer group at Christmas’
      • ‘However, spare a thought for just how many other people's knowledge and opinions of events are being shaped by so few.’
      • ‘We go about our blessed existence without even sparing a thought for him.’
      • ‘Generous readers are sparing a thought for others as they prepare themselves for Christmas.’
      • ‘If you think things looked bleak in the first half of 2002, spare a thought for 28 October 1929, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 12.8%.’
      • ‘We work on our computers every single day never sparing a thought for all those millions of chunks of data spread all over our hard disks.’
      • ‘And spare a thought for all those others, whose names are a ball and chain they must pull after them through the wilderness of this world.’
      • ‘In our rush for change, spare a thought for all those shoppers and business people who have walked the streets of Dublin before us.’
      • ‘Amid euphoric celebrations following last week's cut in interest rates, few of us spared a thought for savers, and even fewer remembered we are all savers through our pension schemes.’
      • ‘O'Neill's is kindly sparing a thought for designated drivers on New Year's Eve, with free soft drinks.’
      • ‘Also can't help sparing a thought for the families of last year's tsunami victims for whom this must all still seem surreal.’
  • to spare

    • Left over.

      ‘that turkey will feed ten people with some to spare’
      • ‘"We had about 20 ft to spare at the end of the runway.’
      • ‘I got there with seconds to spare and had enough time to clean up a little bit before there was a knock at me door.’
      • ‘Twitching slightly, I mount the stairs and quietly slip into my spot in the storage facility, with not a moment to spare.’
      • ‘Jake arrived without a moment to spare, whisking me out of the driveway with a wink for Mason.’
      • ‘So, if you have a three or four hours to spare what are you waiting for!’
      • ‘He wasn't in his performance clothes, which usually meant he had some time to spare.’
      • ‘If you try and do it in your spare time, you very quickly realize that you have no spare time to spare for anything else.’
      • ‘Her album is due out in mid-July and she only has a week to spare amid all the promotions, so she can't do both.’
      • ‘She got to the stable with fifteen minutes to spare, and made her way over to Eagle's stall.’
      • ‘If you want to follow a story, and you have time to spare, you can read, hear or see it in at least a hundred different versions.’
      left over, left, over, remaining, unused, unneeded, not required, still available, surplus to requirements
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English spær ‘not plentiful, meagre’, sparian ‘refrain from injuring’, ‘refrain from using’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German sparen ‘to spare’.

Pronunciation

spare

/spɛː/