The meaning of spare
Moderator
Yutaka 15406 1621

(1) spare no effort
(2) spare no expense
(3) spare a thought for sb
(4) spare the rod and spoil the child
August 2014
  • Moderator
    Yutaka 15406 1621
    The meaning of the word is very confusing.
    In (3), a thought is 'spared' for somebody.
    In (1) and (2), the meaning of the word is as same as in (4).

    I suppose 'spare no expense' means 'do not spare any expense'.
    August 2014
  • jungleboy 16810 17463 6625
    I've never heard the fourth one, though I guess it means to spoil the child rather than to beat it with the rod, so spare the rod means not to use it. The meaning in the first three is the same (with the first two being negative forms). So to spare no effort means to give so much effort that you don't have any effort left 'to spare'. To spare no expense means to spend a lot of money on something, with none left 'to spare' (but not literally none). To spare a thought for somebody means to save or 'spare' a place in your thoughts for that person, to make sure that you make an effort to think about them.
    August 2014
    • mkmiller us United States 1253 1252
      "Spare the rod, spoil the child" is actually a weird way to say that the rod should not be spared - and that children should be spanked or hit with a stick when they misbehave. So, if the rod is spared, then the child will be spoiled. I hope this explanation makes sense.
      August 2014
  • Moderator
    SanneT 487 661 343
    Don't do the objects of 1 and 2 sparingly, do your utmost. Yes. Don't forget 3. Yes
    As for 4, the saying implies that you should punish your child, without punishment it might not grow up properly (these were the days of corporal punishments and a child being an 'it').
    August 2014
    • evgueny40 ru Russian Federation 1665 69907 5725
      Yes, the days of corporal punishments are over. But we can say nowadays: 'Spare your time instead of being with the child and you certainly spoil him.'
      August 2014
  • Moderator
    Yutaka 15406 1621
    I realized that 'spare' has a very similar meaning as 'save.'
    August 2014
  • Moderator
    SanneT 487 661 343
    I shall spare you the sight of my going spare at the sight of my garage.
    August 2014