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

An option to more than double the capacity of the small Washington spur line would create the potential for exports from the state — and huge pushback. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Canada acquires key pipeline link to Washington refineries," 11 June 2018 There are also opportunities for whale watching in the winter months (bring binoculars!) and tide pool exploration via a short spur trail. Sunset, "Hawaii’s Best Trails for Every Hiker," 22 Jan. 2018 The cockfights started around noon and stretched on for hours, birds ripping at each other with sharp metal spurs glued to their feet. David Ovalle, miamiherald, "Who shot the cockfight ref? Secret arena outside Miami was packed but nobody's talking," 12 June 2018 The birds peck and kick each other with spurs attached to their feet, with the loser often fatally wounded. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "Mass. banned cockfighting in 1836. But this blood sport just won’t die," 29 May 2018 Later additions extended the subway through Hollywood and the Valley, and created a spur to Koreatown that would later be rebranded as the Purple Line. Neal Broverman, Los Angeles Magazine, "Relive the Wacky Opening of the Metro Red Line 25 Years Later," 30 Jan. 2018 Some of the best ideas are spur-of-the-moment, people talking in the hallway, and then just to have the ability and the flexibility is important. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Behind the scenes of the quick-moving campaign to get Jesús Aguilar into the All-Star Game," 12 July 2018 Whether April was trying to motivate her son or just get some peace and quiet, her comment was the spur Preston needed. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Redding 12-year-old recognized at Trump’s State of the Union address | The Sacramento Bee," 31 Jan. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Rising bond prices, spurred by the likelihood of political gridlock, weighed on banks since lower yields tends to crimp lenders’ profitability. WSJ, "New Winners and Losers Emerge in Stock Market After Midterms," 7 Nov. 2018 Jack, likely spurred by his own guilt about his brother, can no longer tolerate his father. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Is Us Season 3 Episode 3: Dreams and Fears Go Hand-In-Hand for the Pearsons," 10 Oct. 2018 Their foundation, spurred by a desire to speak out and join the resistance against President Donald Trump, has earned them international praise and even a place on the stage beside Kesha during the 2018 Grammys. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "The Resistance Revival Chorus Celebrates a Year of Sisterhood," 23 July 2018 An investigation spurred by a cyber tip led to the arrest Tuesday of a Lady Lake man Tuesday on 10 counts of possession of child pornography, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Jerry Fallstrom, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Cyber tip leads to arrest of Lady Lake man on 10 counts of possession of child porn," 10 July 2018 Though spurred by environmental concerns — rivers choked with toxic chemicals, local children with high levels of lead in their blood — Beijing’s move also seems emblematic of its increasing self-sufficiency and growing rejection of the West. New York Times, "E-Waste Offers an Economic Opportunity as Well as Toxicity," 5 July 2018 Former comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu is officially announcing his run for state Senate against Tony Avella on Friday, spurred on by activist groups who hustled to get him on the ballot just days before the deadline. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Former New York City Comptroller to Take On State Senator for Queens Seat," 13 July 2018 The tune leads the July 14-dated list, spurred by a big 27 percent surge in plays in the week ending July 8, according to Nielsen Music. Trevor Anderson, Billboard, "Ella Mai's 'Boo'd Up' Hits No. 1 on Adult R&B Songs Chart," 13 July 2018 The country entered a deep recession in 2014 spurred by the drop in global oil prices, and cumbersome regulations on its currency are helping produce record-breaking inflation. Alex Ward, Vox, "We need to talk about the fact that Trump seriously considered invading Venezuela," 6 July 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

19 Nov 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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