tr.v. spared, spar·ing, spares
a. To refrain from harming, injuring, destroying, or killing: The general spared the city from a bombardment.
b. To leave undamaged or unharmed: The oldest trees in the forest were spared from the fire.
c. To refrain from denouncing or distressing; treat leniently or with consideration: The teacher spared the student's feelings by not criticizing her.
d. To allow (someone) to avoid experiencing or doing (something): spared myself the trouble of going to the store.
a. To hold back from; withhold or avoid: spared no expense for the celebration.
b. To use or supply with restraint: Don't spare the mustard.
3. To give or grant out of one's resources; afford: Can you spare ten minutes?
adj. spar·er, spar·est
a. Kept in reserve: spare parts.
b. Being in excess of what is needed; extra: spare cash.
c. Free for other use; unoccupied: spare time.
a. Not lavish, abundant, or excessive; meager: a spare breakfast.
b. Lean and trim: a runner with a spare figure.
c. Not elaborate or ornate; simple: a writer's spare style.
1. A replacement, especially a tire, reserved for future need.
a. The act of knocking down all ten pins with two successive rolls of a bowling ball.
b. The score so made.
In addition to what is needed: We paid our bills and had money to spare.
[Middle English sparen, from Old English sparian.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus