American English

Definition of reserve noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable, usually plural] a supply of something that is available to be used in the future or when it is needed large oil and gas reserves He discovered unexpected reserves of strength. The company has substantial reserves of capital. reserve funds
  2. protected land
  3. 2(also preserve) [countable] a piece of land that is a protected area for animals, plants, etc. a wildlife reserve see also game preserve, nature reserve
  4. 3[countable] (in Canada) an area of land that is kept separate for Native Canadians to live in
  5. quality/feeling
  6. 4[uncountable] the quality that someone has when they do not talk easily to other people about their ideas, feelings, etc. She found it difficult to make friends because of her natural reserve. Jaime always talked to people without reserve.
  7. 5[uncountable] (formal) a feeling that you do not want to accept or agree to something, etc. until you are quite sure that it is all right to do so Any contract should be treated with reserve until it has been checked. She trusted him without reserve (= completely).
  8. in sports
  9. 6[countable] an extra player who plays on a team when one of the other players is injured or not available to play
  10. military force
  11. 7the reserve [singular] (also the reserves [plural]) an extra military force, etc. that is not part of a country's regular forces, but is available to be used when needed the army reserve(s) the reserve police
  12. price
  13. 8(also reserve price) [countable] the lowest price that someone will accept for something, especially something that is sold at an auction The painting failed to reach to its reserve and was withdrawn from the sale.
  14. Idioms available to be used in the future or when needed The money was being kept in reserve for their retirement. 200 police officers were held in reserve.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: reserve