\ 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


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

Choose the Right Synonym for 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 (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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Lareau’s wife, Vickie, said USIU President William Rust commissioned him to plan campuses around the world, asking him to hop on an international flight on the spur of the moment. San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 May 2022 Police even left open the possibility that the attack might have been a spur-of-the-moment act. NBC News, 14 Apr. 2022 But Rogers believes Francesca’s absence is best explained by a trip abroad, even a spur-of-the-moment one that goes unaddressed by her family. ELLE, 14 Apr. 2022 Now with remote and hybrid work, people of color could have even less of a chance to take part in the spur-of-the-moment dialogues that executives place so much importance on fostering a constructive work culture. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, 8 Apr. 2022 And with the ongoing rental car shortage, hopping in your own ride might be the most convenient way to take a spur-of-the-moment vacation before returning to school or work. Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Apr. 2022 This feat takes cloudless skies and clear minds capable of spur-of-the-moment decisions. Diane Bellcolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Mar. 2022 Beyond merely struggling to survive, many spots can actually start gearing up for the future and consider what sort of COVID measures and spur-of-the-moment tweaks should stick around for the long haul. Saahil Desai, The Atlantic, 2 Mar. 2022 Bovain, a furniture deliverer, his girlfriend and one of his younger brothers had made a spur-of-the-moment decision to see Carnival, said another brother, James Bovain. Chron, 2 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The investment is expected to create 100 jobs, retain 42 jobs and spur $2 million in private investment, according to the release. Megan Becka, cleveland, 16 May 2022 His shocking upset invigorated racing fans, who had watched a medication violation overturn the previous year’s Derby result and spur an ongoing legal saga around the sport’s top star, suspended trainer Bob Baffert. Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun, 15 May 2022 Awkward conversations unfold over many drinks, alcohol serving as disinhibitor and spur to philosophical rumination. Dennis Lim, The New Yorker, 15 May 2022 Salt Lake City police detective Michael Ruff said the ride can spur calls about trespassing, noise and traffic being blocked, and can pull officers away from other duties. The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 May 2022 Also helping to spur the growth in sportsbook usage has been females. Brad Adgate, Forbes, 2 May 2022 Strong demand for goods collided with overseas factory shutdowns and overburdened transit routes to spur shortages and push prices up. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2022 Biden previously announced the U.S. would try to spur oil production and tap strategic reserves to ease gas prices, which spiked after Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting a ban on Russian oil imports. Donnelle Eller, USA TODAY, 12 Apr. 2022 Over time, more risk-taking is necessary to spur further economic activity and innovation. Ben Mckenzie, The New Republic, 10 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of spur


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


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

History and Etymology for spur


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

Learn More About spur

Time Traveler for spur

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near spur

spun yarn


spur bit

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Statistics for spur

Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Spur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spur. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for spur


\ 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


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.


\ 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 spur (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on spur

Nglish: Translation of spur for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spur for Arabic Speakers


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