Middle English Dictionary Entry

spāren v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. asparen v.
(a) To leave someone unhurt; leave something undamaged; show mercy by refraining from injuring or punishing; ~ to (on, til, upon), refrain from causing injury to (sb.), refrain from punishing (sb.); (b) ~ to, to show forgiveness for (a sin), forgive; ~ with him-self, forgive himself; (c) ~ til, to show favor to (sb.), treat with indulgence, give special treatment to; ~ upon, take pity on (sb.).
(a) To leave (sb., a part of the body, an animal, etc.) unhurt, refrain from injuring or killing (sb.); also, refrain from assailing (sb.), refrain from shedding (blood); leave (property, a place) undamaged or unplundered; with spores she spared nought here palfrei, she did not refrain from spurring her horse, she rode away quickly; (b) to leave (sb., an angel) unpunished, refrain from inflicting a penalty or punishment on (sb., the world); pardon (a sin, crime, an offense, etc.), excuse; refl. excuse oneself, forgive oneself; of God or Christ at the Last Judgment: refrain from consigning (sb., a soul) to damnation; of a confessor, bishop: treat (a sinner, subject) leniently; (c) to leave (sb.) emotionally unhurt, spare (royal blood) the pangs of love; ~ from, keep (a soul) from (spiritually perilous works); (d) to spare (a horse) from vigorous treatment, spare (an ox) from work; give (sb.) a respite (of a period of years); ~ of travaille, spare (a cow) from hard labor; (e) to spare (sb.) adversity; refrain from troubling or annoying (sb.), refrain from harassing; of words: refrain from slandering (sb.); (f) to treat (sb.) with special favor, show partiality to; (g) to address (sb.) in a mild manner.
(a) To protect, preserve; ~ to, preserve (sb., the name of God); (b) to protect (sb. or sth.); preserve (a feast day); exempt (a privilege from a policy); also, with inf.: spare (Christ from being put to the test) [quot. c1390]; ~ from, keep (one's sword) from (bloodshed), preserve (the senses) from (the world, the flesh, and the devil); ~ of, preserve (sb.) from (others' sins).
(a) To stop; cease from an activity, desist; forbear, restrain oneself; hesitate, delay, hold back; ~ from, abstain from (sexual relations); ~ of, hold back from (wrath, vengeance); (b) to refrain from saying something, remain silent; also, refrain from singing [quot. c1390]; (c) to refrain from eating or drinking.
(a) To cease or delay (an activity); hold back from (punishment, vengeance); (b) to be sparing of (speech); refrain from telling (a tale, the truth, etc.); refrain from describing (sth.); also, ?describe (sth.) briefly [quot. ?a1439]; refrain from giving expression to (an emotion); ~ lengthe, avoid lengthy exposition, be brief; ~ oth, restrain an oath, refrain from swearing; (c) to refrain from eating or drinking (sth.), abstain from; ~ hit on you, deprive yourself of it; (d) ~ richesse, to refrain from confiscating the wealth (of one's subjects); ~ werkes on, refrain from imposing or enjoining forced labor upon (sb.).
With inf.: to forbear (to do sth.), refrain (from doing sth.); neglect (to do sth.); hesitate (to do sth.); also in proverbs; ~ for no cost, spare no expense (to do sth.).
(a) To keep something out of use; also, be kept out of use [last quot.]; ~ to, refrain from using (sth.); ~ to mouth (tonge), refrain from saying something, hold one's tongue; to ~ or spillen, in abundance; (b) to refrain from using (sth.), decline to use; also in proverbs; (c) in phrases: ~ beli, to refrain from eating; ~ fingeres, spare the fingers work, work slowly with the fingers; ~ mouth, refrain from speaking; ~ neither appel ne colk, do all one can, go as quickly as possible; ~ neither toes ne heles, go as quickly as possible; ~ no swete ne swink, spare no effort, work ceaselessly; ~ not throtes, sing lustily; ~ purse, refrain from spending; ~ spores, refrain from using the spurs, ride slowly; ~ tonge, keep (one's) tongue (from backbiting); (d) fig. refl. to be reserved, be haughty.
(a) To make inadequate provision, stint; ~ for no cost, ne ~ for no fe, spend lavishly without regard to cost [2nd quot. may belong to 7.(a)]; (b) to withhold (food, drink, alms, etc.), decline to provide; (c) to withhold (good will), deny (favor).
(a) To reserve money or goods for future use, save; hoard; also, be niggardly or stingy; also in proverbs; ben left no-thing to ~, have nothing left in reserve; ppl. sparinge, parsimonious, niggardly; (b) to reserve (money, goods, etc.) for future use, store up, save; conserve (supplies); also, hoard (sth.); also in proverbs; ppl. spared as noun: that which is reserved [quot. c1475, 2nd].
(a) To give away (sth., esp. that which is not needed or in use), part with; also, reallocate (troops from a larger force); ~ of god, give away some of (one's) goods; (b) to grant (nothing of that which is demanded), accede to.
(a) To avoid (sb. or sth.), stay away from; decline to visit (prisoners); avoid (danger, a difficulty, expenditure, expenses, etc.), shun (drunkenness, gluttony, etc.); shirk (labor) [quot. a1500(c1477)]; avoid (a time of day for fishing); ~ the bough, of birds: shun the bough, nest on the ground; also, in fig. phrases: ne ~ hille ne valeie, ~ hilles nouther valeies, no ~ nouther stub no ston, ~ nouther diche (rigge) nor forwes, ~ rigges nouther forwes, stop for nothing; ~ the weie, give ground, move aside; (b) to refrain from sexual intercourse with (sb.); -- also used of an animal; (c) to overlook (sb.) for promotion; omit (sb.) from a discussion.