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

In the spur of the moment, John cast himself in an Adam and Eve-themed shoot alongside Kate Moss. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "How Jackie Kennedy Helped John F. Kennedy, Jr. Start George Magazine," 10 Apr. 2019 Trump wants immigrants who are wealthy enough to get 'bone-spur' deferments from serving in the military, instead of serving and dying for the U.S. like so many immigrants have from countries Trump would deem s-holes. Jeff Darcy, cleveland.com, "False missile alert human errors: Darcy cartoon," 17 Jan. 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. Justin Jouvenal, chicagotribune.com, "This central Illinois prison is allowing mothers to raise their babies behind bars. But is the radical experiment a good idea?," 11 May 2018 The Canadian government is purchasing a vital link in Washington’s oil network — a nearly 70-mile pipeline spur running through Whatcom and Skagit counties that feeds crude oil to four refineries, according to financial-disclosure documents. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Canada acquires key pipeline link to Washington refineries," 11 June 2018 Eschewing the turn and heading straight ahead on the JMT leads to Donohue Pass and an off-trail spur to Mount Lyell. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Campers can still hit the jackpot in Yosemite," 25 June 2018 His doubts were fully dissolved when Ms. Blair, then a paralegal at Miller Law Group in Charlottesville, made a spur-of-the-moment visit to Mr. Martin, who at the time was working as a houseman at the Cavalier Inn. New York Times, "Months After a Brutal Day in Charlottesville, a Tender Wedding," 16 May 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

These foods and drinks may spur your body to produce androgens, which can interfere with your menstrual cycle. Suzannah Weiss, Glamour, "9 Foods to Avoid If You're Trying to Get Pregnant," 17 Apr. 2019 Sharply lower lending rates typically spur a surge in profitable mortgage originations as existing or aspiring homeowners pounce. Aaron Back, WSJ, "Mortgage Surge a Mixed Bag for Lenders," 3 Apr. 2019 Perhaps the desire to invest in climate action will spur changes that solve a host of other urban problems. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "As cities confront climate change, is density the answer?," 11 Dec. 2018 Abandoning the treaty could spur a new generation of missiles designed to strike Russian and Chinese targets in a conventional—or nuclear—war. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Killing the INF Treaty Could Spur New Generation of Missiles," 23 Oct. 2018 Finally, a set of overgrown eyebrows made for an authentic addition—and Shahidi's choice not to tamper with them will likely spur yet another new trend in the process. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Yara Shahidi's Next-Level Hair Twists Are a Red Carpet Win in Los Angeles," 9 Aug. 2018 News that the days were numbered for Chicago’s last Sears spurred a sense of nostalgia in the neighborhood. Lauren Zumbach, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago's last Sears to close for good Sunday," 13 July 2018 Scott Fitzwater and his 12-year-old son Landon were there with small African spurred tortoises and small ball pythons. Marco Santana, OrlandoSentinel.com, "7-foot boa, bearded dragon in unicorn hat show Repticon's extremes," 7 July 2018 The filing could spur the judge to approve long-term family detentions. Devlin Barrett, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump administration may seek to detain migrant families longer than previously allowed," 30 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

7 May 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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