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

All those true-blue practicalities—slipping an unused crop down a boot or clipping spurs on a belt loop—were addressed in the final product. Leah Melby Clinton, Town & Country, "Behold: The Most Stylish Equestrian Winter Work Suit," 8 Jan. 2019 In the 1870s, the tank was put there to serve a new spur of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and a tiny settlement sprang up around it. Scott Garner, latimes.com, "Neighborhood Spotlight: Sun Valley again finds itself navigating bumps in the road," 29 June 2018 Advocates say the programs allow mothers to forge a crucial early bond with children, creating healthier kids and a spur for mothers to improve their lives. Washington Post, "The Health 202: Health industry appears unfazed by Trump's drug pricing speech," 14 May 2018 At the spurs—small railroads that lead into or away from factories, sawmills, lumberyards, and packing houses—the trains stopped. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Hobo Hieroglyphs: Their Secret Symbols, Explained," 21 Nov. 2018 And how did the belief in shadow-banning spur an all-day congressional firing squad? Aja Romano, Vox, "How hysteria over Twitter shadow-banning led to a bizarre congressional hearing," 6 Sep. 2018 After what seemed like hours of driving, Wielgus turned onto a rough spur road and stopped the truck at a hairpin turn on the hillside. New York Times, "Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Scientist?," 5 July 2018 Next, a spur trail takes you to Grassy Bald, well-named for its broad expanse of grasslands. Michael J. Bailey, BostonGlobe.com, "Rhododendron rhapsody on Roan Mountain," 9 May 2018 Males of the Australian monotremes — egg-laying mammals — produce venom in their thighs during mating season and deliver the poison to competitors via hollow spurs just above their webbed feet. 8. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Poison," 25 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The low unemployment rate and continued solid jobs growth has helped spur faster wage growth for workers. Sharon Nunn, WSJ, "Factory Output Contracts Unexpectedly in January," 15 Feb. 2019 Facing several more years of deficit, the government is looking to the private sector and investors to help spur new domestic industries and create millions of new jobs for young Saudis entering the workforce in coming years. Aya Batrawy, The Seattle Times, "Saudi Arabia showcases $53B in deals at conference," 28 Jan. 2019 Daly believes the park project can not only provide transit options and connections to jobs and employment, but adjacent development can help spur the construction of additional affordable housing nearby. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Miami’s Underline underscores potential of park projects," 19 Oct. 2018 Netflix’s reliance on documentaries to beef up its library of original content may have helped spur the genre to new relevance. David Sims, The Atlantic, "What’s Driving Documentaries to Box-Office Success?," 11 July 2018 But the longstanding practice of exposing rabbits, rats, and other animals to chemicals to evaluate risks is facing growing public objections and cost concerns, helping spur a hunt for alternatives. Vanessa Zainzinger, Science | AAAS, "New digital chemical screening tool could help eliminate animal testing," 11 July 2018 To help spur dog adoptions on this critical weekend, fees will be waived. Rene Lynch, latimes.com, "Why you need to adopt or foster this Fourth of July," 29 June 2018 To help spur a quicker end to burgeoning youth homelessness, Cyndi Lauper and the True Colors Fund -- in association with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty -- has released the State Index on Youth Homelessness. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund & National Law Center Partner to End Youth Homelessness," 28 June 2018 That question is front and center as conventional approaches to pain control in the United States have led to what some see as a culture of overprescribing, helping spur the nation's epidemic of opioid overuse and abuse. Julie Appleby, chicagotribune.com, "Doling out pain pills post-surgery: An ingrown toenail not the same as a bypass," 27 June 2018

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

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Statistics for spur

Last Updated

12 Mar 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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