I looked in the mirror
and saw in there
the end of my chin
and the start of my hair
and between there
isn't much space to spare with my nose,
like a handle, sticking there

This is one of the stanzas of an elementary class poem.

What is the meaning of the verb spare in this context? (as it usually means to grant.)


The idiom is "(thing) to spare", meaning "extra (thing) left over, or available beyond the necessary amount” (definition 6b under "spare, transitive verb" at merriam-webster.com says: to have left over or as margin: time to spare).

The poem is describing a face as the area between one's chin and one's hairline; between those two points there "isn't much space to spare" because there is a "nose, like a handle, sticking there". (It sounds like the author thinks that their nose is a bit larger than desired.)

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