American English

Definition of spare verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they spare
    he / she / it spares
    past simple spared
    -ing form sparing
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    time/money/room/thought, etc.
  1. 1to make something such as time or money available to someone 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 someone pain/trouble
  3. 2to save someone/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] (formal) to allow someone or 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. Idioms
    spare somebody's feelings
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    to be careful not to do or say anything that might upset someone
    if you have time, money, etc. to spare, you have more than you need I have absolutely no money to spare this month. We arrived at the airport with five minutes to spare.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: spare