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[spair-ing] /ˈspɛər ɪŋ/
economical (often followed by in or of).
lenient or merciful.
scanty; limited.
Origin of sparing
1325-75; Middle English; see spare, -ing2
Related forms
sparingly, adverb
sparingness, noun
nonsparing, adjective
oversparing, adjective
oversparingly, adverb
oversparingness, noun
1. frugal, saving, penurious. 3. meager, sparse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sparingly
  • No school can function without such authority, though all should use it sparingly.
  • Genes for resistance thus spread through the population unless such drugs are used carefully and sparingly.
  • Accents used sparingly make for an uncluttered feel.
  • But the military has only used the stun guns sparingly in the field.
  • They have left open the possibility that, in future, export licences will be granted more sparingly.
  • Sometimes animal models have to be used, but they should be used sparingly.
  • To keep the integrity of the recordings intact, de-noising technology and overall volume limiting was used sparingly.
  • Rubato was employed sparingly and the sustaining pedal was never down for long.
  • Eat sparingly along the edges where the herbicide was applied.
  • The deeply nutty oil is coveted as truffles are elsewhere, and it is used sparingly but often.
British Dictionary definitions for sparingly


sometimes foll by with or of. economical or frugal (with)
scanty; meagre
merciful or lenient
Derived Forms
sparingly, adverb
sparingness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sparingly

mid-15c., from present participle of spare (v.) + -ly (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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