As you are probably aware, our contemporary English content is now available through Lexico.com (https://www.lexico.com/en), and our old English dictionary site no longer exists.

As a result of this, this forum is now closed.

The English dictionary community team would like the opportunity to say a huge thanks to all of you who participated by posting questions and helping other community members.
We hope this forum was useful, and that you enjoyed being a part of it.

If you would like to get in touch with any OED-related queries, please write to
[email protected]

And if you would like to contribute suggestions to the OED, please do so by visiting: https://public.oed.com/contribute-to-the-oed/

Thank you very much indeed, and good bye!
The community team

Can I say "Are you a spare girl?"

Can I say "Are you a spare girl?" to know whether she is being loved (used)?

Answers

  • I've never heard (or read) spare used in that way. No dictionary lists this sense. So I don't believe anyone would understand what you meant by the question.

    The most likely context for the phrase a spare girl is a situation where there are supposed to be equal numbers of boys and girls, but there's one girl too many.

    It might also be suitable when there are twelve girls assembled for a eleven-person team — except that we normally use other terms such as reserve. Cricket speaks of a twelfth man, so I suppose we could say twelfth girl.

    A girl who is of marriageable age but not married is a single girl. To cover a wider range, we may speak of a girl as being unattached.

    However, I don't think it would be socially acceptable to ask 'Are you single?' or Are you unattached? Depending on how well you know the young woman, you might ask 'Are you married?' or 'Do you have a partner?' or 'Are you in a relationship?'

Sign In or Register to comment.