spur

noun
\ ˈspər \

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

e : climbing iron

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

The meeting, which was to be held in Singapore on June 12, had been agreed to on the spur of the moment by Trump in March. Jon Wolfsthal, The New Republic, "Trump Plays Hard to Get," 24 May 2018 Reservations won’t be accepted at the park entrance, so the days of showing up at Muir Woods on the spur of the moment and hoping for a parking spot are over. Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, "Muir Woods visit by car or bus to require making reservation, paying fee," 12 Jan. 2018 When the North Penn Railroad was laying tracks from the city to the Lehigh Valley, Doylestown insisted on a spur, and that junction opened in 1856 in what today is Lansdale. Jason Laughlin, Philly.com, "Lansdale exists because of the railroad. Now those tracks may be key to its future," 19 June 2018 The troopers found the 56-year-old unconscious after her vehicle ran off the eastern spur of the New Jersey Turnpike in Secaucus last month. Fox News, "State troopers use CPR to revive woman who stopped breathing," 13 June 2018 Perhaps the greatest spur to processing has been the desire for affordable, convenient food. Nicola Temple, WSJ, "Give Processed Food a Break," 4 May 2018 Grab your spurs and journey with us to the Wild West, where a legendary bank-robbing outlaw is back in town, about to strike again. Courant Community, "Community News For The Putnam-Killingly Edition," 19 June 2018 Grateful Dead rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, whom Barlow befriended at a Colorado boarding school, worked two months on the Barlow ranch in the late ’60s and is still wearing the hat and jangling his spurs. Chris Jennings, WSJ, "‘Mother American Night’ Review: The Opening of a Western Mind," 14 June 2018 Its isolated location left it underdeveloped until a railroad spur from Burbank was built in 1893, at which time its population boomed to 23 souls. Scott Garner, latimes.com, "Neighborhood Spotlight: Chatsworth keeps one foot in the Old West," 25 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Levels of pollution and water temperature are the key drivers, with elevations of each spurring growth, said Tim Davis, a Bowling Green State University microbiologist who studies blooms in Lake Erie. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "What’s an algae bloom and how did it wind up sliming Florida’s biggest lake?," 10 July 2018 Issue addressed: Increase state's competitiveness, spur growth. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Does anyone running for governor have a new idea? We asked the candidates," 6 July 2018 Stoltenberg, for his part, has credited Trump for spurring NATO nations to spend more on defense, noting that the Europeans and Canada are projected to spend around $266 billion more by 2024. Jonathan Lemire And Jill Colvin, Fox News, "Trump claims Germany 'controlled' by Russia," 11 July 2018 The fund evolved into 1MDB when the prime minister gave it the broader goal of spurring economic development. Nicole Hong, WSJ, "Former Goldman Banker Is in Plea Talks Over Malaysian 1MDB Scandal," 9 July 2018 What a way to push the ball forward in the Movement for Black Lives by spurring a Hall of Fame induction. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "Terrell Owens Could Be on MTV’s The Challenge, but He Can’t Go to His Own Hall of Fame Induction," 7 June 2018 No information was available about what spurred the investigation and when. Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com, "River Ridge man accused of recording his rape of juvenile," 5 June 2018 Microsoft’s booming cloud-computing business is part of what has spurred its growth. Emily Price, Fortune, "Microsoft Just Became More Valuable Than Google," 30 May 2018 The goal is to help alleviate a severe local shortage of affordable housing by spurring construction of more granny flats, which are additional housing units on an existing property. David Garrick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego shrinks 'granny flat' fees to spur construction amid housing crisis," 2 May 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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Learn More about spur

Phrases Related to spur

win/earn one's spurs

Statistics for spur

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of spur 

1 : a projection from an anatomical part : calcar

2 : bone spur painful heel spurs

Other words from spur

spurred \ˈspərd \ adjective

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Comments on spur

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