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

Back in the mists of evolution, the spurs were legs, and pythons’ ancestors walked on all fours. Gena Steffens, Smithsonian, "The Snakes That Ate Florida," 11 July 2019 The researchers played down the observation that the spurs were also common in those over 60. Faye Flam, Twin Cities, "Faye Flam: Some things are scary. ‘Horns’ from smartphone use aren’t.," 6 July 2019 The bad news is, the spurs are growing at the back of the skull. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Cell Phones Might Be Causing Horns to Grow on Young People's Skulls," 20 June 2019 For any of that to happen, the spur-of-the-moment uprising will have to become more organized. Ana Campoy, Quartz, "What’s next for Puerto Rico?," 25 July 2019 The ongoing Japan-U.S. trade negotiations should strengthen relations and spur even greater economic development in both countries. Nobuyuki Hirano, Fortune, "How Japan Became a Model for Economic Revival," 18 July 2019 The shows: Reflecting the spontaneous nature of the music, Dylan insisted that shows be announced spur-of-the-moment style, with little or no formal advertising, relying instead on handbills distributed perhaps a few days before each show. Randy Lewis, latimes.com, "Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue: A user's guide," 7 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Prior to this year’s X Games, Lacey had continued to contend with unexpected struggles, including a broken ankle that spurred feelings of depression. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Skateboarder Lacey Baker on Gender Identity and Inclusivity," 8 Aug. 2019 Law enforcement’s infiltration into white supremacist groups in the 1970s and ’80s was the catalyst that spurred the movement’s leaders to adopt that model. Los Angeles Times, "White supremacists and Islamic State recruits have more in common than you might think," 7 Aug. 2019 The Democratic candidates are likely to highlight their health care proposals in the second primary debate tonight and tomorrow — a topic that has spurred a high-profile fight among the field's top-tier candidates. NBC News, "Battle lines sharpening in the Dems' health care fight," 31 July 2019 That was because a lot of the lending that spurred the crisis was predatory, based in long-time policies of housing segregation. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "Long Before Trump's Tweets, Baltimore Had Become a 'Target.' Here's How Segregation Helped Create Its Problems," 29 July 2019 Grippa filed one of the three complaints lodged against Rubin that spurred Patronis to suspend him. Gray Rohrer, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida Cabinet to consider Rubin sexual harassment investigation report next week," 18 July 2019 If the conditions that spur cyanobacteria growth change — for instance the water cools off or the flow of nutrients stops — then the bloom can fade. Craig Pittman, sun-sentinel.com, "5 things to know about blue-green algae. (It’s bad. And it’s getting worse.)," 10 July 2019 The argument goes that if the government were to borrow from abroad, there would be a large amount of savings available for the domestic private sector at lower interest rates, which would spur investment. Rahul Menon, Quartz India, "The Modi government wants a $5 trillion economy by 2024, but has done little to back it," 8 July 2019 If signatory countries follow through with policies that spur local productivity, the free trade argument could boost intra-African trade by 52% by 2022, estimates the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Africa’s largest economy is finally backing the continent’s plans for a single free trade market," 3 July 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

13 Aug 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

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