Definition of reserve in English:



  • 1 Refrain from using or disposing of (something); retain for future use.

    ‘roll out half the dough and reserve the other half’
    • ‘Remove the chicken from the casserole on to a large platter, reserving the cooking liquid.’
    • ‘Strain, reserving the milk but discarding the garlic and thyme, and mash, adding the cream and milk until fluffy - you may not need all the milk.’
    • ‘If a marinade is to be used later for basting or for serving as a sauce, reserve a portion of it before adding the beef.’
    • ‘Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice, and stir into the pork mixture.’
    • ‘Drain the pasta, reserving a small amount of the cooking water.’
    • ‘Drain the pasta, reserving a few spoonfuls of the cooking water, and add the pasta to the sauce, tossing well.’
    • ‘The cheese used on top to form the crust would have to contain the greatest amount of fat in the dish, so I reserved half of the low-fat cheese to use there.’
    • ‘Reserve the rest of the rice and beans in a microwavable bowl or plastic container along with the leftover fajita mix, and use it for tomorrow's lunch.’
    • ‘Remove from the heat, leave to cool in the pan and then strain, reserving the stock.’
    • ‘When cool enough to handle, remove seeds, scoop out flesh, reserving skins for later use.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, cook the noodles as per pack instructions, then drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.’
    • ‘Add the stock, bay leaves and parsley reserving a small amount of parsley for garnish.’
    • ‘If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it.’
    • ‘Remove the stalks from the parsley and finely chop them, reserving the leaves for later.’
    • ‘Then drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquor.’
    put to one side, put aside, set aside, lay aside, keep back
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    1. 1.1Arrange for (a room, seat, ticket, etc.) to be kept for the use of a particular person and not given to anyone else.
      ‘a place was reserved for her in the front row’
      • ‘Other services to be offered may include reserving cinema tickets and paying mobile phone bills.’
      • ‘How do you reserve a hotel room at a place that is miles away?’
      • ‘All seats with tables were reserved - although they seemed empty most of the night.’
      • ‘You can also use the site to reserve hotel rooms or rent cars.’
      • ‘Vaughan finishes his coffee and follows me down the platform into the first-class carriage, where I've reserved two seats.’
      • ‘If you are interested in reserving a space or would like to receive further information, please complete the form below.’
      • ‘A woman passenger reserved her ticket in advance and picked it up yesterday morning, but the airline didn't tell her about the cancellation.’
      • ‘I reserved a room there for Tanya, whom I had just met.’
      • ‘Seats are not reserved so the advice is to come early.’
      • ‘The closing date for season ticket holders to reserve their seats and get discounted tickets for the friendly match is tomorrow.’
      • ‘The number of people reserving hotel rooms is higher than that in the same period last year.’
      • ‘The only advice from Peter and Rebekka is to book now to reserve a seat.’
      • ‘He found himself separated from his spouse by two seats, despite having reserved the seats much in advance.’
      • ‘She also invited people to contact her office to reserve seats.’
      • ‘Your table is always reserved in the dining room.’
      • ‘However, season ticket-holders, who wish to reserve their normal seat will have to buy that ticket before the match.’
      • ‘Anyone who wishes to go as a pilgrim must hand in his or her name before the end of January in order to reserve a seat on the pilgrimage.’
      • ‘The train is fast and quiet and there are plenty of nice little touches, like digital signs indicating if the seat is reserved or not.’
      • ‘Its usually a good idea to ring ahead and reserve a ticket, as seating space is often limited.’
      • ‘She always managed to reserve two seats for us at the bar.’
      book, make a reservation for, order, arrange in advance, arrange for, prearrange for, secure
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    2. 1.2Retain or hold (an entitlement to something), especially by formal or legal stipulation.
      [with object and infinitive] ‘the editor reserves the right to edit letters’
      • ‘Most European constitutions place a premium on social harmony, reserving the right of the state to more directly affect the lives of its citizens for the provision of specific public goods.’
      • ‘And she reserved the rights to make the documentary.’
      • ‘All rights are reserved - this article may not be reproduced in any form without the express permission of the authors.’
      • ‘By that, do you mean they're reserving the right or looking at taking legal action?’
      • ‘The content owner reserves some rights of control but eschews the common commercial approach of all rights reserved.’
      • ‘Admittedly, I have always been shy of allowing others to read my work, reserving that right to a select few.’
      • ‘This is my web site, running on a server I own, using bandwidth I pay for, located in a nation which reserves the right of free speech for its citizens.’
      • ‘These interests may be created expressly by granting another person a right over one's land, or by reserving a right over land which one is transferring to another person.’
      • ‘In such a situation, we have always reserved the right of the majority to defend itself.’
      • ‘Others do reserve the right on occasions to drink alcohol.’
      • ‘The raffle operator reserves his rights to use frequent flyer miles to pay for the round trip plane tickets.’
      • ‘Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.’
      • ‘To that end, we reserve the absolute right to edit or remove posts at our discretion.’
      • ‘Therefore, the board reserves the rights to issue fines and/or take any other actions available.’
      • ‘For this reason he reserved the right of the state to intervene so that the economically powerless could not be exploited by the economically powerful.’
      retain, keep, hold, secure
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    3. 1.3Refrain from delivering (a judgment or decision) immediately or without due consideration or evidence.
      ‘I'll reserve my views on his ability until he's played again’
      • ‘The Judge reserved his final decision and has informed the newspaper that decision will be disclosed today.’
      • ‘The appeal is expected to finish today, but the judges will reserve their decision, with judgement expected to be announced within three months.’
      • ‘He reserved his decision on withdrawing the warrants until close of business next Wednesday.’
      • ‘The hearing has now ended but the judges have reserved their decision which is expected in the next few weeks.’
      • ‘He reserved his decision and delivered oral reasons for judgment on June 13.’
      defer, postpone, put off, delay, withhold
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    4. 1.4Use or engage in something only in or at (a particular circumstance or time)
      ‘Japanese food has been presented as expensive and reserved for special occasions’
      • ‘From then on, spectacular church music was reserved for special occasions.’
      • ‘In Italy, celebrating with a meal isn't reserved for special occasions - it's a way of life.’
      • ‘I reserve those future modification strategies for my birthday.’
      • ‘Most of the batsmen in the list seem to have reserved their tons for the big occasion.’
      • ‘In some ancient communities, singing was a magical power to be reserved only for special occasions.’
      • ‘Decades ago, restaurant dining was, indeed, reserved for special occasions.’
      • ‘Sheep and goats provide common meals, while beef is reserved for special occasions.’
      • ‘In its judgment yesterday, the appeal court said a maximum sentence was reserved for the most heinous circumstances and served as a deterrent.’
      • ‘Some surgeons tend to select one type of implant for most situations and reserve other implants for special circumstances.’
      • ‘Antibiotics are generally reserved for use in episodes of acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis and emphysema.’
      • ‘Given this high hurdle, Congress's exercise of power in this realm would be reserved for unusually egregious circumstances.’
      • ‘It is unsurprising to find this outcome being challenged by developing states which argued that part of the spectrum should be reserved for future use.’
      • ‘Eating out now plays a major part in British life and is no longer reserved for special occasions.’
      • ‘Of course it was a matter of some contention with Mother that I was using all of her hairspray to kill insects, so I reserved that weapon for dire circumstances.’
      • ‘A subdued atmosphere in the venue, which is designed for baseball, was mirrored by the players, who reserved their rabble-rousing for the right moments.’
    5. 1.5(in church use) retain (a portion of the consecrated elements) after mass for communion of the sick or as a focus for devotion.
      • ‘Jesus is present in a very real and powerful way in every church that reserves the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.’
      • ‘Is not the cost of keeping our churches open, offering the liturgy, and reserving the Eucharist a price the Church can afford, no matter the monetary price?’
      • ‘If we reserve consecrated bread and wine and kneel before it, why should we not preserve the world with the same reverence?’


  • 1A supply of a commodity not needed for immediate use but available if required.

    ‘Australia has major coal, gas, and uranium reserves’
    • ‘There is considerable mineral wealth, particularly oil reserves, silver, and zinc, as well as uranium and copper, not all of which has been fully exploited.’
    • ‘Proven global reserves of carbon-based energy resources are at an all-time high.’
    • ‘It is estimated that Niger has 10 percent of the world's uranium reserves.’
    • ‘The ‘investment aid’ money is for opening up new coal reserves in viable coal mines where development is shown to be profitable.’
    • ‘Part of the problem, he explains, is that the data available on oil reserves and production estimates is not very reliable.’
    • ‘The Europeans did not have substantial petroleum reserves and immediately sought an alternative fuel that could be produced at home from renewable sources.’
    • ‘Officials from the Department of Trade and Industry are visiting the colliery to talk to union leaders and to see for themselves the coal reserves still in the mine.’
    • ‘The government used to prop up prices by paying farmers to keep land fallow, setting floor prices for some commodities and building stock reserves.’
    • ‘Stockpiles of grains continue to decline, says the ministry, but it believes supply will meet demand through imports and releases from state reserves.’
    • ‘If there is a serious disruption in supply, then those reserves will be tapped.’
    • ‘The world is competing for dwindling oil reserves, water supplies and other resources; it is a time when rational minds will be needed to build a better world.’
    • ‘Also, a firmer currency would make it cheaper for the country to amass oil reserves and other commodities.’
    • ‘Huge reserves of uranium barely keep the economy afloat.’
    • ‘He says that while Australia has significant gas reserves, supplies from overseas will be needed in the future.’
    • ‘Our nation needs to get serious about resourcing its reserves if it's going to rely on them as heavily as it has lately.’
    • ‘The estimated total of all conventional uranium reserves is thought to be sufficient for about 200 years at the current rate of consumption.’
    • ‘Uranium reserves are also plentiful, and Australia is the world's largest supplier.’
    • ‘Of course, there are many of us who cannot do this, but those who can will find, if a strain is put at any time on local supplies, that such reserves will not only be a convenience to themselves but will help their neighbours.’
    • ‘Only for brief periods in 1942 and 1944 did the UK draw on its reserves of key commodities; in all other years imports outpaced consumption.’
    • ‘Our uranium reserves will sustain us for hundreds of years as carbon fuels dwindle.’
    stock, store, supply, stockpile, reservoir, pool, fund, bank, accumulation
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    1. 1.1A force or body of troops kept back from action to reinforce or protect others, or additional to the regular forces and available in an emergency.
      • ‘An additional battalion was made available for ‘corps use,’ and another battalion as an artillery reserve for the army.’
      • ‘Those additional officers were provided from the force reserve which is available to ensure we have sufficient organisational flexibility to meet operational demands.’
      • ‘He then voluntarily developed and trained a reserve force of assorted Army troops trapped with the Marines.’
      • ‘They could, however, bring in fresh forces from the reserves to maintain battle-worthiness.’
      • ‘During the war it housed the reserve troops who would protect the government from invading forces.’
      additional troops, fresh troops, additional police, supplementaries, auxiliaries, reserves
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    2. 1.2A member of the military reserve.
      • ‘If you're a member of the reserves or National Guard, you may be eligible for a new tax deduction this year.’
      • ‘Attendance allowance is paid to assist a member of the reserves with travel expenses when required to attend a specified place within Australia to render reserve service.’
      • ‘It comprises 500 members of the regular and reserve forces who would support the emergency services and local authorities in a major emergency.’
      • ‘There are, in addition, reserves, regular and volunteer, for the other services.’
      • ‘Under the U.S. legislation, service with the armed forces is in two periods: the regular forces and the reserve forces.’
    3. 1.3An extra player who is a possible substitute in a team.
      • ‘He marked his reserve team debut against Sunderland with the winning goal.’
      • ‘Presently, the reserve team has 11 players under age 21 including seven high school players.’
      • ‘The 27-year-old has been given a week's trial and is likely to get a chance to impress in a reserve team game.’
      • ‘It also makes sure the reserve team isn't over-burdened with senior players keeping youngsters out.’
      • ‘He progressed to the reserve team and has played senior rugby with the club for the past four seasons.’
      substitute, stand-in, second-string, relief, replacement, fallback, emergency
      in reserve, spare, extra, auxiliary, secondary
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    4. 1.4The second-string team.
      • ‘You have to knuckle down and get on with it, as there were times when I would be the most senior professional playing in the reserves after travelling with the first team and not being involved.’
      • ‘Whilst I have been patient during the last two years it has become very repetitive playing in the reserves and I needed to play to prove to myself that I was capable of performing at that level.’
      • ‘We can watch him hopefully progress through the reserves and into the first team and feel part of his success.’
      • ‘They regularly buy first team choice players and put them in the reserves or on the bench.’
      • ‘Only a fool would put a player of his quality in the reserves for two seasons and his manager is no fool.’
    5. 1.5Funds kept available by a bank, company, or government.
      ‘the foreign exchange reserves’
      • ‘A balance of payments deficit or surplus was defined by the sign of the rate of change of a central bank's foreign exchange reserves.’
      • ‘The gold would then constitute those banks' reserves for their demand deposits.’
      • ‘Management of bank reserves was basically control over system liquidity and the broader financial environment.’
      • ‘Central banks hold reserves to defend their currencies from speculative attacks and to help finance international borrowing and trade.’
      • ‘Not all central banks, however, require commercial banks to deposit reserves.’
    6. 1.6A part of a company's profits added to capital rather than paid as a dividend.
      • ‘In some cases though, the costs charged against profit reserves will impact upon the company's ability to pay dividends.’
      • ‘The net assets are then 18 million and those net assets are reflected by the share capital, the reserves.’
      • ‘Third, the £1.6 billion being raised was more than the entire share capital and reserves of the company.’
      • ‘This would see earnings per share fall to a level where the company would have to dip into reserves to pay the dividend at its current level.’
      • ‘As such, this inclusion of the cash reserves can actually overstate capital and reduce ROCE.’
  • 2A place set aside for special use, in particular.

    • ‘One is the Union government's move to create biosphere reserves in areas spread across more than one State.’
    • ‘Twenty eight acres was set aside for a reserve by the forward looking Hawera Town Board in 1875.’
    • ‘A private landowner who wishes to undertake forestry operations on their land may apply to have the land declared a private timber reserve under the provisions of the Forest Practices Act 1985.’
    • ‘Why is it that only people living within 100 metres or a neighbouring property or Council, can appeal against the granting of a private timber reserve?’
    • ‘Almost before anyone knew about it, the company was pumping a half million gallons of water a day from an aquifer beneath a hunting reserve.’
    • ‘He's worried the quiet atmosphere of the reserve will change forever with the new ring road and casino.’
    • ‘The reserve contains the remains of an apple and damson orchard.’
    • ‘At the same time, it would save on traffic congestion, air pollution, oil resources, eroding of land reserves for highway construction, and the need to provide town centre parking facilities.’
    • ‘That's where we kind of developed this strategy of starting with this marine reserve and expanding then to a special planning area, which would be the entire watershed.’
    • ‘There was a very large area set aside and the thermal reserve still exists today, but it covers a much smaller area.’
    • ‘I was intrigued a few years ago when in Oxfordshire in England to see that certain areas of the roadside were actually set aside as reserves.’
    • ‘First, the river that would be dammed was an important source of fish and crayfish, and the lands that would be flooded were used as a hunting reserve for deer.’
    • ‘There are areas where land has been put aside for reserves but are now being used for different things.’
    • ‘Others were on missions, at settlements and on the many extensive reserves set aside over the years.’
    • ‘Proceeds from the land sale could be used to further develop existing reserves in the area.’
    1. 2.1An area designated as a habitat for an indigenous people.
      • ‘However, they were greeted by a two-kilometre roadblock of residents from Quebec, New Brunswick and the nearby native reserves.’
      • ‘While Ojibwa reserves are also found in Ontario and Saskatchewan, this account stresses their history in the United States.’
      • ‘An Orkney woman has been made an honorary Cree Indian, after visiting distant relatives on a reserve in Canada recently.’
      • ‘Social and economic problems on reserves and among urban natives exacerbate the situation.’
      • ‘The plight of native reserves has long been known in various departments at the federal and provincial levels of government.’
      • ‘This is why many Natives leave reserves for the city.’
      • ‘It will be touring the province's reserves, settlements and native communities.’
      • ‘They say there's no evidence that native reserves were revoked to achieve such a purpose, and no evidence of suppressing or curtailing Aboriginal customs and rites.’
      • ‘During this decade Kurt and his family lived on a reserve and immersed themselves in Native culture.’
      • ‘Native Lands attempts to protect indigenous land holdings and reserves.’
      • ‘The department established two agency farms near the proposed reserves and in 1880 appointed an Indian agent at Fort Walsh.’
      • ‘But it should not be beyond the wit of the Government and its advisers to create an Aboriginal title to land on Aboriginal reserves in the Northern Territory.’
      • ‘The cigarettes were then allegedly sold to smugglers and brought illegally into Canada through native reserves and border checkpoints.’
      • ‘To attain individual private property, Kanaks must buy land or real estate outside the reserves.’
      • ‘We would say that, on the creation of the reserve, any native title right to occupy such an area of land simply could not be enforced.’
      • ‘Pursuing missionary work among the Aborigines, he established a native reserve at Poonindie, near Port Lincoln in SA.’
      • ‘Although the United States had granted the Indians title to the hunting reserve, the government had never intended them to live there year-round.’
    2. 2.2A protected area for wildlife.
      • ‘A research vessel ran aground in a Hawaiian marine wildlife reserve on Sunday and appears to be leaking oil.’
      • ‘This reserve of native plants is one of the finest in the country and includes many walks throughout its five hectares.’
      • ‘Less than four percent of the forested land is currently set aside in forest reserves and left undisturbed by forest management today.’
      • ‘We set aside reserves for wild nature, but sometimes we forget how much we need wild places and wild animals.’
      • ‘Planting trees to expand reserves and create corridors between protected tiger reserves is one tangible way to help the big cats survive and multiply.’
      • ‘So it's quite a big deal as, Hokkaido has in effect been a reserve for native fish and this is now threatened.’
      • ‘She has also worked to create more federal marine reserves.’
      • ‘He looks after the land as a private reserve for wildlife habitat, running marsupials and their predators instead of cows.’
      • ‘Kenya has over 50 national parks and game reserves where wildlife is protected.’
      • ‘Caravan sites, military estates, bird and wildlife reserves were all closed yesterday due to fears of contamination.’
      • ‘Tanzania is almost four times the size of the UK, and 25 per cent of its land mass is protected in national parks, game reserves or conservation areas.’
      • ‘The study found that groups of animals with similarly small range sizes had the highest proportion of species living outside wildlife reserves and national parks.’
      • ‘Marine reserves are our national parks of the sea.’
      • ‘But here in the soothing silence of the reserve all was indeed beautiful.’
      • ‘Tracts set aside for game reserves could not be used for farming.’
      • ‘An old stone cottage forms an important landmark on this vast peatland nature reserve.’
      • ‘Eighty percent of the country was effectively off-limits, including national parks and game reserves.’
      • ‘The importance of the reserve for wildlife is acknowledged in its official designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.’
      • ‘Concurrently, the federal government set aside land and forests in national parks and forest reserves.’
      • ‘Awash National park is one of the finest and most accessible reserves in the country.’
      national park, animal sanctuary, preserve, reservation, conservation area
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  • 3A lack of warmth or openness in manner or expression.

    ‘she smiled and some of her natural reserve melted’
    • ‘Like all of us he had been thrown in at the deep end with this stupid rowing idea, but he seemed to really try his hardest to do the best he could, despite his natural reserve.’
    • ‘Davis, a man of much dignity and reserve, has not written a kiss-and-tell book.’
    • ‘But, as Beth entered, the pity in her eyes melted Alicia's cool reserve and she dissolved into a crumpled heap on her bed.’
    • ‘Due to the after-effects of sun and a bottle of Sancerre, my usual British reserve was sadly lacking.’
    • ‘He also notices that the townspeople all respect Ethan's reserve and solitude.’
    • ‘She's such a fascinating mix of beauty, brains, class, warmth, and reserve.’
    • ‘Her looks are an imperishable benchmark of beauty, her glacial reserve is viewed as a sophisticated enticement.’
    • ‘Some of the portraits, such as that of Evolution, radiate an enthusiastic cheer; other groups gaze into the camera with more detachment, dignity and reserve.’
    • ‘One can understand the sense of reserve being expressed.’
    • ‘Student actors had to overcome any natural reserve for their raunchy roles in a new stage play in Manchester.’
    • ‘However, his plans may be derailed by a combination of intrinsically British factors: natural reserve and a reluctance to get up early in the morning.’
    • ‘Only Mrs. Martin and her two daughters were present, and just when their caution and reserve were starting to melt, it was time to leave.’
    • ‘His natural reserve has probably served to disarm any possible tensions in a dressing-room with as many notable egos.’
    • ‘So certainly there is a degree of reserve, there is a degree of suspicion.’
    • ‘By comparison, Cody's day job is a bastion of reserve and decorum.’
    • ‘Valentine's Day sanctions gestures and words of affection in a culture otherwise characterized by public and private reserve.’
    reticence, self-restraint, restraint, self-containment
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    1. 3.1Qualification or doubt attached to some statement or claim.
      ‘she trusted him without reserve’
      • ‘Two game systems from my first article in this series qualify as board game systems without reserve: Orion and the piecepack.’
      • ‘We should, nonetheless, be sceptical when she says that she thought everyone should devote him or herself without reserve.’
      • ‘Although he fitted the stereotype, his readiness to talk without reserve was untypical.’
      • ‘The boy was sobbing now as he spoke in disjointed thoughts, tears streaming to his cheeks without reserve, having to catch his breath between sentences.’
      • ‘But oath-taking, though important, was expressly presented in the body of the work as adding nothing to the force of contracts, so this argument must be treated with some reserve.’
      • ‘‘It is certainly possible to apply economics to traditional societies,’ he proclaims without reserve.’
      • ‘And we may be nervous but we are also ready, so I'm looking forward to it unashamedly, without reserve.’
      • ‘Were anyone to make such claims nowadays, they would be treated with considerable reserve, not to say great scepticism.’
      • ‘The presidential elections, however, showed that public opinion polls and sociologists are not to be trusted without reserve.’
      • ‘He had long ago told me that he wanted me to be honest and without reserve when talking to him, and I usually found it difficult.’
      • ‘The new leadership accepted his recommendations without reserve.’
      • ‘Whatever they ask for they should be given without question, without reserve.’
      • ‘I think I'd like the whole album, without reserve, if those dance beats weren't thrown in.’
      • ‘The country has been grievously wronged and it must be supported wholeheartedly and without reserve.’
      • ‘Above all we expect to be able to judge it without reserve.’
      reservation, qualification, condition, limitation, proviso
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  • 4

    short for reserve price
    • ‘The reserve has been set at a very reasonable price given the condition and history of the bike.’
    • ‘The reserve has been set at less than half of the retail cost of this bike.’
    • ‘Many of the lots will be sold without reserve, and the bulk of the paintings carry estimates of between €500 and €3,000.’
    • ‘No reserve has been set although a price in excess of £3.5 million is expected when the pub is auctioned on November 8.’
    • ‘The reserve has been set at a very reasonable amount. For less than the price of a new car, you can own this beautiful piece of automotive history.’
  • 5(in the decoration of ceramics or textiles) an area that still has the original color of the material or the color of the background.

    • ‘Penwork decoration, with designs in reserves on a black background, may itself have first developed within the Tunbridge ware industry.’
    • ‘The tops of these pieces were usually decorated with designs and reserves.’


  • in reserve

    • Unused and available if required.

      ‘the platoon that had been kept in reserve’
      • ‘He said water affairs was managing water supply in a cycle that extended into next year, and wanted to keep some water in reserve.’
      • ‘The force will have some armoured vehicles in reserve in case of difficulty.’
      • ‘We have enough foodgrain in reserve to meet the requirements of one billion citizens.’
      • ‘There are expected to be about 3,500 police on duty at today's marches with 1,000 in reserve.’
      • ‘This would mean the land could be kept in reserve for longer term development.’
      • ‘She allowed herself to hold enough stamina in reserve to finish in first place.’
      • ‘Here nature is preserved not only to be consumed by tourists but kept in reserve for later industrial use.’
      • ‘Having so many spare cars in reserve is one reason the crew doesn't feel stressed at the track.’
      • ‘On the plus side at least he will have some energy in reserve.’
      • ‘There are many reasons why schools may hold cash in reserve.’
      available, at hand, to hand, on hand, on call, ready, in readiness, for use when needed, set aside
      obtainable, accessible, at one's disposal, on tap
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Middle English: from Old French reserver, from Latin reservare keep back from re- back + servare to keep.