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

Not seeing this as the end of the road, Robert Foley made a spur-of-the-moment decision. Stephen Ruiz, orlandosentinel.com, "Channeling ‘Dukes of Hazzard,’ Florida man jumps canal in car: report," 24 June 2019 And on June 5th America evicted India from a scheme that offers tariff-free access to certain goods from poor countries as a spur to development. The Economist, "India presents America with a choice between geopolitics and trade," 29 June 2019 Stabilizing debt without the spur to productivity and growth from robust exports may prove impossible. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "China’s Inward Tilt Could Cripple It," 26 June 2019 Chopra is currently in France for what many people think is Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas's second wedding ceremony, following their spur-of-the-moment Vegas quickie. Julyssa Lopez, Allure, "Priyanka Chopra Wore a Blonde Wig in Paris, and the Internet Has Questions," 26 June 2019 Robots will boost productivity and economic growth, as well as spur industries that don't even exist yet. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "Robots could take 20 million manufacturing jobs by 2030," 25 June 2019 Country Club Trail Length: 3.25-mile loop or 4.25 miles with the Pat Mullen Mountain spur. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Arizona hike: Shady, easy-to-navigate forest trail leads to big mountain views," 21 June 2019 Decades ago, researchers began using the presence of spondylosis deformans, in which bony spurs or bridges form around discs and spinal joints, as an indicator that a dog was used to drag or carry loads. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Ancient Dogs Weren’t the Workhorses We Thought They Were," 18 June 2019 Young blades cram into the cockpit in St. James’s Park to bet on fighting roosters with silver spurs. The New York Review of Books, "Maya Jasanoff," 23 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Egypt hopes such discoveries will spur tourism, which is partially driven by antiquities sightseeing hit hard by political turmoil following the 2011 uprising. Washington Post, "Egypt opens 2 ancient pyramids for first time since 1960s," 14 July 2019 Democrats say that's a major conflict of interest, especially because her nonprofit has lost money in recent years and the tax benefit could spur donations. Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati.com, "Conflict of interest? Butler County lawmaker says she won't vote on bill to help her nonprofit's donors," 8 July 2019 Pond and Drane said there are outcomes the Living Room has spurred that can't be measured by a dollar amount. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "More people will end up on the streets, in jail or worse as crisis response project ends," 3 July 2019 The show spurred such uproarious communal laughter that the experience was transformative, Abrams said. Deborah Vankin, latimes.com, "J.J. Abrams, theater producer: First ‘The Play That Goes Wrong,’ then two magic shows," 2 July 2019 The law spurred a surge in ammunition purchases in California last month as well, though accounts are largely anecdotal, Oliva said, as ammunition sales are not tracked like those of firearms. John Woolfolk, The Mercury News, "California gun sales surged in June before ammo ID law took effect," 2 July 2019 Mesa officials have previously said data centers could spur other tech companies to come to the area. Riley Murdock, azcentral, "Mesa approves deal for $1 billion Google data center," 1 July 2019 The idea is that transparent pricing will spur competition and force high-price hospitals to cut margins, or become more efficient. The Economist, "Will transparent pricing make America’s health care cheaper?," 28 June 2019 Big Blue Nation hoped Reid Travis’s success at Kentucky last season would spur John Calipari to land another grad transfer looking to polish his game for NBA scouts. Dan Greene, SI.com, "Florida Wins the Kerry Blackshear Jr. Sweepstakes and Watches Its Ceiling Rise," 27 June 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

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Statistics for spur

Last Updated

16 Jul 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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