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noun \ˈspər\

Simple Definition of spur

  • : a sharp pointed object that is attached to the heel of a horse rider's boot and that is pressed into the horse's side to make the horse go faster

  • : something that makes you want to do something or that causes something to happen

  • : a mass of sharp rock on the side of a mountain

Full Definition of spur

  1. 1a :  a pointed device secured to a rider's heel and used to urge on the horseb plural [from the acquisition of spurs by a person achieving knighthood] :  recognition and reward for achievement <won his academic spurs as the holder of a chair in a university — James Mountford>

  2. 2 :  a goad to action :  stimulus

  3. 3 :  something projecting like or suggesting a spur: asa :  a projecting root or branch of a tree, shrub, or vineb (1) :  a stiff sharp spine (as on the wings or legs of a bird or insect); especially :  one on a cock's leg (2) :  a gaff for a gamecockc :  a hollow projecting appendage of a corolla or calyx (as in larkspur or columbine)d :  a bony outgrowth (as on the heel of the foot)e :  climbing iron

  4. 4a :  an angular projection, offshoot, or branch extending out beyond or away from a main body or formation; especially :  a ridge or lesser elevation that extends laterally from a mountain or mountain rangeb :  a railroad track that branches off from a main line

  5. 5 :  a reinforcing buttress of masonry in a fortification

on the spur of the moment
  1. :  on impulse :  suddenly

Examples of spur

  1. <the threat of losing its only sports franchise was the spur the city council needed to finally do something about the rising crime rate>

  2. <a weak wall that might need a spur>

Origin of spur

Middle English spure, from Old English spura; akin to Old English spurnan to kick — more at spurn

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of spur

motive, impulse, incentive, inducement, spur, goad mean a stimulus to action. motive implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act <a motive for the crime>. impulse suggests a driving power arising from personal temperament or constitution <buying on impulse>. incentive applies to an external influence (as an expected reward) inciting to action <a bonus was offered as an incentive>. inducement suggests a motive prompted by the deliberate enticements or allurements of another <offered a watch as an inducement to subscribe>. spur applies to a motive that stimulates the faculties or increases energy or ardor <fear was a spur to action>. goad suggests a motive that keeps one going against one's will or desire <thought insecurity a goad to worker efficiency>.

Other Equestrian Terms

Rhymes with spur




Simple Definition of spur

  • : to encourage (someone) to do or achieve something

  • : to cause (something) to happen or to happen more quickly

  • : to urge (a horse) to go faster by pushing spurs into its sides

Full Definition of spur


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to urge (a horse) on with spurs

  3. 2 :  to incite to action or accelerated growth or development :  stimulate

  4. 3 :  to put spurs on

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to spur one's horse on

Examples of spur

  1. The reward spurred them to work harder.

  2. Lower interest rates should spur economic growth.

  3. He spurred the horse onward.

13th Century

First Known Use of spur

13th century

Medical Dictionary


noun \ˈspər\

Medical Definition of spur

  1. :  a sharp and especially bony outgrowth (as on the heel of the foot)

  2. spurred \ˈspərd\play adjective

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up spur? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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