English

Definition of spare verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    spare

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//speə(r)//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//sper//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they spare
    BrE BrE//speə(r)//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//sper//
     
    he / she / it spares
    BrE BrE//speəz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//sperz//
     
    past simple spared
    BrE BrE//speəd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//sperd//
     
    past participle spared
    BrE BrE//speəd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//sperd//
     
    -ing form sparing
    BrE BrE//ˈspeərɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsperɪŋ//
     
     
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    time/money/room/thought, etc.
  1. 1to make something such as time or money available to somebody or for something, especially when it requires an effort for you to do this spare something/somebody I'd love to have a break, but I can't spare the time just now. Could you spare one of your staff to help us out? spare something/somebody for somebody/something We can only spare one room for you. You should spare a thought for (= think about) the person who cleans up after you. He was late, but he spared a glance for the pretty girl at the desk. spare somebody something Surely you can spare me a few minutes?
  2. save somebody pain/trouble
  3. 2to save somebody/yourself from having to go through an unpleasant experience spare somebody/yourself something He wanted to spare his mother any anxiety. Please spare me (= do not tell me) the gruesome details. You could have spared yourself an unnecessary trip by phoning in advance. spare somebody/yourself from something She was spared from the ordeal of appearing in court.
  4. not harm/damage
  5. 3[usually passive] spare somebody/something (from something) (formal) to allow somebody/something to escape harm, damage or death, especially when others do not escape it spare somebody/something (from something) They killed the men but spared the children. During the bombing only one house was spared (= was not hit by a bomb). spare somebody/something sth Hong Kong was spared a direct hit, but the storm still brought heavy rains and powerful winds.
  6. no effort/expense, etc.
  7. 4spare no effort, expense, etc. to do everything possible to achieve something or to do something well without trying to limit the time or money involved He spared no effort to make her happy again. No expense was spared in furnishing the new office.
  8. work hard
  9. 5not spare yourself to work as hard as possible
  10. Word Origin Old English spær ‘not plentiful, meagre’, sparian ‘refrain from injuring’, ‘refrain from using’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German sparen ‘to spare’.Extra examples Can you spare a second to give me a hand? Can you spare some money for the homeless? Have you any money to spare? She hardly spared him a second glance. The children were spared from the virus. The storm largely spared Houston and surrounding districts. We should get there with half an hour to spare. During the bombing only one house was spared. She begged them to spare her life.Idioms
    spare somebody’s blushes
     
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    (British English) to save somebody from an embarrassing situation A last minute goal spared their blushes.
    spare somebody’s feelings
     
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    to be careful not to do or say anything that might upset somebody
    if you have time, money, etc. to spare, you have more than you need I've got absolutely no money to spare this month. We arrived at the airport with five minutes to spare.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: spare