Definition of “spare” - English Dictionary

“spare” in 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.

More examples


uk /speər/ us /sper/

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)