spare Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “spare” in the English Dictionary

"spare" in British English

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uk   /speər/ us   /sper/
  • spare adjective (EXTRA)

B1 If something is spare, it is available to use because it is extra: a spare key/tyre spare sheets and blankets Do you have a spare pen? We have a spare room if you want to stay overnight with us. Could I have a word with you when you have a spare moment/minute?UK informal "Do you want this cake?" "Yes, if it's going spare (= if no one else wants it)."
spare time
A2 time when you are not working: I like to paint in my spare time.

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uk   /speər/ us   /sper/
  • spare verb (SAVE)

[T] to not hurt or destroy something or someone: They asked him to spare the women and children.
  • spare verb (TRY HARD)

spare no effort/expense
C2 to use a lot of effort, expense, etc. to do something: [+ to infinitive] We will spare no effort to find out who did this.
not spare yourself UK formal
to try as hard as you can to achieve something: She never spared herself in the pursuit of excellence.
  • spare verb (GIVE)

C1 [T] to give time, money, or space to someone, especially when it is difficult for you: [+ two objects] Could you spare me £20? I'd love to come, but I can't spare the time.
spare a thought for sb
C2 to think about someone who is in a difficult or unpleasant situation: Spare a thought for me tomorrow, when you're lying on a beach, because I'll still be here in the office!
to spare
C1 left over or more than you need: If you have any woolyarn to spare when you've finished the sweater, can you make me some gloves? I caught the plane with only two minutes to spare. There's no time/We have no time to spare if we want to get the article written by tomorrow.


uk   /speər/ us   /sper/
(Definition of spare from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"spare" in American English

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spareverb [T]

us   /speər/
  • spare verb [T] (SAVE)

to decide not to hurt or destroy something or someone: By reducing workershours, the company spared some people's jobs.
  • spare verb [T] (AVOID)

to avoid something: A quiet chat about this would spare everyone embarrassment.
  • spare verb [T] (GIVE)

to give or use something because you have enough available: Can you spare a dollar? I’d love to come, but I’m afraid I can’t spare the time.


us   /speər/
  • spare adjective (EXTRA)

[not gradable] not being used, or more than what is usually needed: I keep my spare change in a jar.
  • spare adjective (THIN)

[-er/-est only] (of people) thin with no extra fat on the body: He had the spare build of a runner.

sparenoun [C]

us   /spær, sper/
  • spare noun [C] (EXTRA THING)

an extra thing that is not being used and can be used instead of a part that is broken, lost, etc.: In case I lose my key, I keep a spare in the garage.
(Definition of spare from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of spare?
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