spur

noun
\ ˈspər How to pronounce spur (audio) \

Definition of spur

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a pointed device secured to a rider's heel and used to urge on the horse
b spurs 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 : a goad to action : stimulus
3 : something projecting like or suggesting a spur: such as
a : a projecting root or branch of a tree, shrub, or vine
b(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 gamecock
c : a hollow projecting appendage of a corolla or calyx (as in larkspur or columbine)
d : bone spur
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 range
b : a railroad track that branches off from a main line
5 : a reinforcing buttress of masonry in a fortification
on the spur of the moment
: on impulse : suddenly

spur

verb
spurred; spurring

Definition of spur (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to urge (a horse) on with spurs
2 : to incite to action or accelerated growth or development : stimulate
3 : to put spurs on

intransitive verb

: to spur one's horse on

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Choose the Right Synonym for spur

Noun

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 (such 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

Examples of spur in a Sentence

Noun

the threat of losing its only sports franchise was the spur the city council needed to finally do something about the rising crime rate a weak wall that might need a spur

Verb

The reward spurred them to work harder. Lower interest rates should spur economic growth. He spurred the horse onward.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Though technically a part of the spur, maintenance of the portion past the Louisiana exit falls to the city of Houston. Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle, "Spur 527 exit to Brazos Street closing for repairs," 1 July 2019 Fun fact: the distillation column of Etheridge’s 2,000-gallon still is made from the recycled metal of a rail spur salvaged from the Warehouse District. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, "Warehouse District: How West Palm Beach’s newest nightlife village found suds, spirits and ‘soul’," 6 June 2019 Back in the mists of evolution, the spurs were legs, and pythons’ ancestors walked on all fours. Gena Steffens, Smithsonian, "The Snakes That Ate Florida," 11 July 2019 The researchers played down the observation that the spurs were also common in those over 60. Faye Flam, Twin Cities, "Faye Flam: Some things are scary. ‘Horns’ from smartphone use aren’t.," 6 July 2019 The bad news is, the spurs are growing at the back of the skull. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Cell Phones Might Be Causing Horns to Grow on Young People's Skulls," 20 June 2019 For any of that to happen, the spur-of-the-moment uprising will have to become more organized. Ana Campoy, Quartz, "What’s next for Puerto Rico?," 25 July 2019 The ongoing Japan-U.S. trade negotiations should strengthen relations and spur even greater economic development in both countries. Nobuyuki Hirano, Fortune, "How Japan Became a Model for Economic Revival," 18 July 2019 The shows: Reflecting the spontaneous nature of the music, Dylan insisted that shows be announced spur-of-the-moment style, with little or no formal advertising, relying instead on handbills distributed perhaps a few days before each show. Randy Lewis, latimes.com, "Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue: A user's guide," 7 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The goal is to use this vast dataset in order to better understand what affects health for people of different races, genders, and geographic locations - and, in the process, help spur the development of personalized medicine. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "This Company Will Provide Genetic Counseling for a Million-Person NIH Study," 21 Aug. 2019 That has helped spur the scrutiny by the government officials. Steve Lohr, New York Times, "How Should Big Tech Be Reined In? Here Are 4 Prominent Ideas," 20 Aug. 2019 His budget included a record $1 billion for homelessness and $1.75 billion to help spur housing production and planning through loans, tax credits and other incentives. Joe Garofoli, SFChronicle.com, "Gig-worker bill: Gavin Newsom keeps his distance from California’s big fight," 15 Aug. 2019 Thomas said the $25 or $50 stipends is helping to spur youths to act, but also to feel more ownership of their community. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "As Baltimore welcomes Trump-inspired trash collectors, residents seek lasting solutions," 15 Aug. 2019 Maier said some historians have speculated that the possibility of the Soviet Union's entry into the war helped spur the decision to bring the war to a quick end by using the bomb. Ryan Browne, CNN, "Why the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima 74 years ago today," 6 Aug. 2019 At Wilderness Rim, these findings helped to spur change. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "As wildfire risk grows west of Cascades, homeowners urged to better protect their homes," 30 July 2019 Her eight children’s books (published in the 1930s and '40s) have sold 60 million copies and spurred an entire chunk of the American culture pie: a beloved TV series, pageants, plays, musicals, cookbooks, and more. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "Little House, Big Fans: These People Really, Really Love Laura Ingalls Wilder," 24 Aug. 2019 Her seventh album Lover was released at midnight on Friday, spurring hundreds of thousands of excited fan tweets about the singer’s newest creative direction. Marcus Jones, EW.com, "A track-by-track breakdown of Taylor Swift's new album Lover," 23 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spur.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of spur

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for spur

Noun

Middle English spure, from Old English spura; akin to Old English spurnan to kick — more at spurn entry 1

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Statistics for spur

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spur

The first known use of spur was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for spur

spur

noun

English Language Learners Definition of spur

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

spur

verb

English Language Learners Definition of spur (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

spur

noun
\ ˈspər How to pronounce spur (audio) \

Kids Definition of spur

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a pointed device fastened to the back of a rider's boot and used to urge a horse on
2 : something that makes a person want to do something : incentive
3 : a mass of jagged rock coming out from the side of a mountain
4 : a short section of railway track coming away from the main line
5 : a usually short pointed growth or projecting part (as a spine on the leg of a rooster)
on the spur of the moment
: without thinking for a long time We decided to go on the spur of the moment.
Hint: Spur-of-the-moment is often used as an adjective. a spur-of-the-moment decision

Other Words from spur

spurred \ ˈspərd \ adjective

spur

verb
spurred; spurring

Kids Definition of spur (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to urge a horse on with spurs
2 : incite A promised reward spurred them to work.

spur

noun
\ ˈspər How to pronounce spur (audio) \

Medical Definition of spur

1 : a projection from an anatomical part : calcar
2 : bone spur painful heel spurs

Other Words from spur

spurred \ ˈspərd How to pronounce spurred (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on spur

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spur

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spur

Spanish Central: Translation of spur

Nglish: Translation of spur for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spur for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spur

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