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Definition of “spare” - English Dictionary

"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 ​reducingworkers’ ​hours, the ​company spared some people's ​jobs.
  • spare verb [T] (AVOID)

to ​avoid something: A ​quietchat 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 ​extrafat 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)

"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 ​stayovernight 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 ​elsewants it)."
spare time
A2 time when you are not ​working: I like to ​paint in my spare ​time.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples


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 tofind 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 ​unpleasantsituation: 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/
[C] an ​extra thing that is not being used and can be used ​instead of a ​part that is ​broken, ​lost, etc.
[C usually plural] (also spare part) a ​piece that can be used to ​replace another ​similarpiece in a ​car or other ​device
(Definition of spare from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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