spur 1 of 2

as in to stab
to urge or push forward with or as if with a pointed object gently spurred the horse with his heels

Synonyms & Similar Words



2 of 2


Synonym Chooser

How does the noun spur contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of spur are goad, impulse, incentive, inducement, and motive. While all these words mean "a stimulus to action," spur applies to a motive that stimulates the faculties or increases energy or ardor.

fear was a spur to action

In what contexts can goad take the place of spur?

While the synonyms goad and spur are close in meaning, goad suggests a motive that keeps one going against one's will or desire.

thought insecurity a goad to worker efficiency

When might impulse be a better fit than spur?

The meanings of impulse and spur largely overlap; however, impulse suggests a driving power arising from personal temperament or constitution.

buying on impulse

When could incentive be used to replace spur?

Although the words incentive and spur have much in common, incentive applies to an external influence (such as an expected reward) inciting to action.

a bonus was offered as an incentive

When can inducement be used instead of spur?

While in some cases nearly identical to spur, inducement suggests a motive prompted by the deliberate enticements or allurements of another.

offered a watch as an inducement to subscribe

Where would motive be a reasonable alternative to spur?

The words motive and spur can be used in similar contexts, but motive implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act.

a motive for the crime

Thesaurus Entries Near spur

Cite this Entry

“Spur.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/spur. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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