spur

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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 universityJames 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
4
a
: 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

spur

2 of 2

verb

spurred; spurring

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
Phrases
on the spur of the moment
: on impulse : suddenly
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
And as the first two song releases make clear with banjos, stomps and claps, and references to spurs, boots, and long back roads, this is a country record. Alicia Adamczyk, Fortune, 19 Feb. 2024 Last July, Lucy Chadwick, the British director of the contemporary art gallery Champ Lacombe in Biarritz, France, bought a cake on the spur of the moment at a local bakery to accompany the opening of her latest exhibition, a group show about the digital-age baroque. Zoey Poll Katja Mayer, New York Times, 15 Feb. 2024 This spur trail off the adjacent greenway carries you over some grassy wetlands with regenerating hardwoods and a cattail marsh. Taylor Piephoff, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Here, the cliffs were covered in vegetation, with knife-edge spurs and basalt towers that soared into the dark clouds above. Peter Heller, Condé Nast Traveler, 2 Jan. 2024 But what happened at Oceanwide Plaza wasn’t some spur of the moment scribble. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2024 Pease said the devices rodeos use to control animals — including electric prods, shocking devices, bucking straps, sharpened spurs, wire tiedowns and rowels — are torture devices. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Nov. 2023 Open surgery is better able to remove the entire spur. Stuart Hershman, Verywell Health, 27 June 2023 Aging isn’t disqualifying but rather a spur to keep living. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 11 Dec. 2023
Verb
The staggering growth of domestic supply spurred on by the advent of hydraulic fracturing over the last 15 years has turned the United States from a net importer into the world’s largest LNG exporter. Charles K. Ebinger, National Review, 19 Feb. 2024 Noah Kahan’s Stick Season climbs 5-3 on the Billboard 200, matching its peak rank, spurred by the release of its new deluxe edition. Keith Caulfield, Billboard, 18 Feb. 2024 In 2018, three D.C. Council members introduced a bill to crack down on amplified noise, an effort spurred by complaints from downtown residents and business owners. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 But the East Palestine visit has already spurred criticism for coming a year after the derailment occurred. Kaia Hubbard, CBS News, 16 Feb. 2024 The enticing growth in the compact EV market has been spurred by the near ubiquitous use of e-bikes and electric scooters by couriers for delivery services that drop take-out food and groceries at online shoppers’ doors. IEEE Spectrum, 12 Feb. 2024 The singer and songwriter’s recent run of game-day appearances in support of her tight-end boyfriend on the Chiefs, Travis Kelce, has also spurred an uptick in Swifties taking on an interest in football. Meredith Woerner, Variety, 11 Feb. 2024 As for what might have spurred the trend, Saxon sees a link to former President Donald Trump, who is running again for the Oval Office despite facing federal charges. Ryan Gajewski, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Feb. 2024 Veteran groups and researchers say the use of psilocybin can spur breakthroughs in therapy, especially for those who suffer from PTSD and have not seen improvements through traditional medications. Anabel Sosa, Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spur.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near spur

Cite this Entry

“Spur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spur. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

spur

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: a pointed device fastened to the back of a rider's boot and used to urge a horse on
b
plural : recognition for achievement
2
: something that makes one want to do something : incentive
3
a
: a stiff sharp pointed part (as a horny spine on the leg of a rooster)
b
: a hollow flower part that sticks out especially on a petal (as of a columbine) or on a sepal (as of a larkspur)
4
: a mass of jagged rock coming out from the side of a mountain
5
: a short section of railway track coming away from the main line

spur

2 of 2 verb
spurred; spurring
1
: to urge a horse on with spurs
2
: to move to action : incite, stimulate

Medical Definition

spur

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

More from Merriam-Webster on spur

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