Definition of spur in US English:

spur

nounPlural spurs

  • 1A device with a small spike or a spiked wheel that is worn on a rider's heel and used for urging a horse forward.

    • ‘Make sure your personal equipment, including boots and spurs, has been worn prior to the show.’
    • ‘The youngest was only 4, but his stirrups are cinched up to accommodate his little legs and there are spurs on the heels of his boots.’
    • ‘The riders will be dressed in their Army Dress Blue uniform with riding breeches, boots and their silver spurs.’
    • ‘Jacobs said he used the spurs to control the horse and that any force he used was to control the horse and keep himself out of danger.’
    • ‘He shook his head to dismiss the troublesome thoughts, and dug his spurs into the flanks of the horse.’
    1. 1.1 A hard spike on the back of the leg of a rooster or male game bird, used in fighting.
      • ‘Their well-feathered shanks had razor sharp spurs protruding ominously, and the feet were also covered in dense, thick feathers to protect the skin from the brutal cold.’
    2. 1.2 A steel point fastened to the leg of a gamecock.
      • ‘The bird puffs out his chest, the glint of steel spurs curving inwards and upwards on the back of his legs.’
      • ‘Cocks have metal spurs attached to the leg just above the foot.’
      • ‘Nowadays few people enjoy watching two cocks fitted with sharp spurs slash at each other until one is dead or dying.’
  • 2A thing that prompts or encourages someone; an incentive.

    ‘profit was both the spur and the reward of enterprise’
    • ‘Her experience on the show acted as a spur to her ambition and she flew to California with £750 in her pocket.’
    • ‘Perhaps genius - even the illusion of genius - is a spur that throws us forward.’
    • ‘For those of our readers who specialize in this subject, this should serve both as an expert review and a spur to fresh thinking.’
    • ‘To some extent, this has undoubtedly acted as a spur to research, but I believe that it distorts more than it reveals, and that all ultimately lose by the process.’
    • ‘The conservationist-author points out that the urge to find, dam, and channel water is one of the earliest spurs to technological advance.’
    • ‘Their continuing presence is a spur to violence.’
    • ‘‘I hope this report is not put back on a shelf but acts as a spur to provide treatment facilities and resources to tackle the issue,’ he said.’
    • ‘It provides a lot of very smart and/or politically important people with a spur to help the campaign as much as possible.’
    • ‘Openness to trade acts as a spur to efficiency, innovation, and international competitiveness generally.’
    • ‘For example, proximity to one's home and community may act as a spur to some to fight harder.’
    • ‘Another spur to expeditions from the 1790s was the desire of British Protestant churches to evangelize overseas.’
    • ‘Any player averaging a hat-trick per game over an entire season is clearly not lacking talent, but Ross claims that enthusiasm is his main spur.’
    • ‘That will give a spur to additional investment and, therefore, to additional productivity.’
    • ‘For those not yet at the repayment date this could be a spur to reconsider their mortgages.’
    • ‘Robert Koch was getting a great deal of attention throughout Europe for his discoveries and the French versus German rivalry that occurred provided a great spur to medical advances.’
    • ‘Everyone knows that competition can be both healthy (acting as a spur to progress) or negative, which is hurtful as well as wasteful.’
    • ‘Anger can be channeled as a spur to action rather than being destructive. But Mars at its best is purposeful, an achiever and self-starter, and a force to be reckoned with.’
    • ‘They have been cited as a spur to a recovery in business confidence, though the evidence of this is not clear-cut and, in the case of Japan, flatly contradictory.’
    • ‘Hilbert's problems were a spur to some of the most productive mathematical research of the 20th century.’
    • ‘Inequality is natural, inevitable and may even be a good thing - a spur to ambition, competition and achievement.’
    stimulus, incentive, encouragement, stimulant, stimulation, inducement, impetus, prod, prompt
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  • 3A projection from a mountain or mountain range.

    • ‘Built on a wooded spur above the town, the chapel is visible from almost six miles (ten kilometers) away.’
    • ‘This is a very pleasant descent down a tributary valley with the distinctive spur known as the Tongue prominent on the opposite side of the stream.’
    • ‘It took them a week to reach the eastern spur of the Waiongona Gorge, near the present Mountain House, the last camp before the summit attempt.’
    • ‘The hilltop spur has stunning views across the Severn valley.’
    • ‘The terrain between the spur of the mountain range and the sea is flat and thickly forested.’
    1. 3.1 A short branch road or rail line.
      • ‘Scores of business premises will be bulldozed to make way for the final section of the northern spur of Sheffield's inner ring road.’
      • ‘However, planners were reluctant to commit to having a rail spur open by late 2010.’
      • ‘At the airport, a system of rail spurs would connect aviation-related businesses, warehouses and cargo storage areas.’
      • ‘The work will also include a spur road into the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow.’
      • ‘The main spine would run between the existing and heavily-used west coast and east coast lines, with spurs to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.’
    2. 3.2Botany A slender tubular projection from the base of a flower, e.g. a honeysuckle or orchid, typically containing nectar.
      • ‘Most columbine flowers have backward-projecting spurs that contain rich nectar that can only be reached by hummingbirds.’
      • ‘Instead, longer spurs only seem to be an advantage when long-tongued insects are the sole pollinators.’
      • ‘During visits to flowers in which the corolla spur was removed, males directed their glossa to the tips of the connective appendages, making it clear that their search was for nectar.’
      • ‘Yet short floral spurs are not necessarily a reproductive disadvantage.’
      • ‘Some have large flowers with longer spurs, while others have smaller double flowers with short spurs, or no spurs at all.’
    3. 3.3 A short fruit-bearing side shoot.
      • ‘Check all your climbers have enough support and tie in new spurs and shoots before they get snapped in the wind.’
      • ‘The spurs produce blossoms and fruit year after year, and should be saved wherever possible.’
      • ‘Apple trees, at the other extreme, produce fruit on long-lived, very short, knobby branches, called spurs, so they need little such stimulus.’
      • ‘For apples and Japanese plums, thin to one fruit per cluster, and be careful to not damage long-lived fruiting spurs.’
      • ‘Even those small, fruiting spurs on apple and pear trees eventually need pruning for rejuvenation and to eliminate overcrowding.’
    4. 3.4Medicine A short pointed growth or process on a part of the body.
      • ‘During interposition arthroplasty, your surgeon removes any bone spurs or loose pieces of bone.’
      • ‘In this type of procedure, resection of a calcaneal spur is generally not performed.’
      • ‘Damaged, exposed bone forms spurs that interfere with movement.’
      • ‘New spurs of bone often develop at the margins of the affected joints.’
      • ‘The presence of calcaneal bone spurs on plain radiographs has no value in making or excluding the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.’
      projection, spike
      View synonyms

verbspurred, spurs, spurring

[with object]
  • 1Urge (a horse) forward by digging one's spurs into its sides.

    ‘she spurred her horse towards the hedge’
    • ‘He spurred the horse into a fast trot.’
    • ‘Diana took a deep breath and spurred her horse towards the cave.’
    • ‘He pulled himself up behind her and she spurred the horse into a gallop.’
    • ‘Maddock shouted, spurring his horse forward into the melee.’
    • ‘The hero tips his hat to the ladies, spurs his horse and gallops off toward the setting sun in a cloud of dust.’
    • ‘Indignant, she turned away, but he evidently took this as a sign of encouragement and spurred his horse forward to ride by her side.’
    • ‘With this, they spurred their horses on again and continued towards their destination.’
    • ‘With that, they spurred their horses out of the stables and into the dark night…’
    • ‘All three spurred their horses forward at the same time.’
    • ‘Then he leapt into the saddle and spurred the horse to a gallop, and with a wave of his hand, he was gone.’
    • ‘He yelled and they set off, spurring their horses into a gallop.’
    • ‘He shot her a grin before spurring his horse forward.’
    • ‘He gestured with his torch, and spurred his horse forward.’
    • ‘Jack let out a loud whoop as he spurred his horse on.’
    • ‘She looks away and gently spurs her horse back into a slow walk.’
    • ‘As he spurred his horse forward to catch up with his brothers, Ben said a silent prayer that his words would prove to be true.’
    • ‘Uncle Howard spurred his horse into a trot, and Thomas and I followed.’
    • ‘Gregor mutters a few more obscenities and turned back in his saddle before spurring his horse forward.’
    • ‘She wheeled her horse around, and spurred the stallion into a gallop.’
    • ‘‘Follow my lead,’ Doran shouted, spurring his horse forward with his heels.’
    impel, spur on, force, drive, coerce, goad
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  • 2Give an incentive or encouragement to (someone)

    ‘her sons' passion for computer games spurred her on to set up a software business’
    • ‘‘The new rules are designed to spur people into putting more into their pension pot,’ Holt adds.’
    • ‘Each year millions of smokers attempt to quit en masse, spurred on by the annual health awareness campaign.’
    • ‘It was this desire for excitement that spurred Kevin to leave his job as an accountant after three years to become a professional actor.’
    • ‘However, the reward of seeing the mighty Everest from Kala Pattar - a 5,545 metre adjacent peak - was incentive enough to spur us on.’
    • ‘He said: ‘The article really brought home how these people suffer and it spurred me on.’’
    • ‘‘To receive a pledge of this magnitude spurs us on to secure the remaining £20,000,’ said head teacher Alan Davis.’
    • ‘‘You watch them, their artistry, their special qualities and it really spurs you on to find something like that in yourself,’ she says.’
    • ‘Encouraging feedback from reviewers and reading groups is spurring Chris on.’
    • ‘He said that what spurred him to become involved in fund-raising for the Heart Foundation was attending the funeral three years ago of a friend who died of a heart attack as a young man.’
    • ‘When I arrived here I found two men who were not just great coaches, they were also good at spurring me on.’
    • ‘Last year's disappointment at failing to reach the final of the 400m has spurred him to greater effort.’
    • ‘To their credit, many in the neighborhood, both black and white, were spurred to action.’
    • ‘We hope the Yorkshire Bank-sponsored grants of up to £1,000 per school will spur people on to continue what we have started - because there is no room for complacency.’
    • ‘The plight of a York woman's friend is spurring her on to run the London Marathon for the first time - and hopefully raise hundreds of pounds.’
    • ‘The fact that her second chance was costing her parents money spurred her on.’
    • ‘I think it is always very touching when your efforts are praised, even in small ways, and it spurs you on to do more good work.’
    • ‘She and her husband are keen travellers and the chance of winning a holiday in the competition is spurring her on to win.’
    • ‘She said it was the very happiness and stability of her upbringing that spurred her to investigate her personal history.’
    • ‘The incident spurs Ben to become a doctor and an all-around humanitarian.’
    • ‘Three years later she received the devastating news that she had leukaemia but instead of letting her condition rule her life, she was spurred into action to help other sufferers by raising vital funds.’
    motivate, inspire, stimulate, encourage, spur on, galvanize, arouse, rouse, excite, stir, stir up, fire, fire with enthusiasm, make enthusiastic, fire the imagination of
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Promote the development of; stimulate.
      ‘governments cut interest rates to spur demand’
      • ‘Barnes explains that the summer heat warms the ocean's surface and spurs evaporation.’
      • ‘It is hoped that the bank will cut its interest rates to spur growth when its council next meets on Thursday.’
      • ‘Although she did not found the hospice movement, her work spurred its development.’
      • ‘These trends have revived old debates and spurred new research.’
      • ‘While the process of globalization and the drive to open markets has spurred growth and development in parts of the world, it has also exacerbated existing problems.’
      • ‘Competition between two national political parties beginning in 1828 spurred the development of new, partisan newspapers.’
      • ‘Officials hope it will spur the development of the corporate bond market in Hong Kong, boosting the city's role as a regional financial centre.’
      • ‘Depression makes existing heart disease especially deadly; it also actually spurs the development of coronary artery disease.’
      • ‘A rise in gas prices will spur development of alternative energy sources.’
      • ‘Growth is picking up around the world as countries slash taxes and cut rates to spur demand’
      • ‘Computer makers hope that, along with reasonable prices, this will spur demand.’
      • ‘The effects of the steroid was to quadruple testosterone levels in the body which helped spur dramatic muscle growth, essential for swimming.’
      • ‘The government says the tax cuts are needed to spur a stagnant economy.’
      • ‘The company hopes new discounts and promotions will spur demand in the second and third quarters.’
      • ‘Once that happens, their spending could help spur reasonable growth in the economy.’
      • ‘He said the nation needed foreign investors who would help spur economic development.’
      • ‘The arrival of the railroad in the late 1800s also spurred growth.’
      • ‘Nor have lower interest rates spurred corporations to invest in new projects.’
      • ‘Nothing spurs forward progress in research like competition.’
      • ‘One difficulty is that improvements in technology spur improvements in armaments.’
      stimulate, give the incentive to, act as a incentive to, act as a stimulus to, encourage, prompt, propel, prod, induce, impel, motivate, move, galvanize, inspire, urge, drive, egg on, stir
      View synonyms
  • 3Prune in (a side shoot of a plant) so as to form a spur close to the stem.

    ‘spur back the lateral shoots’

Phrases

  • on the spur of the moment

    • On impulse; without planning in advance.

      ‘I don't generally do things on the spur of the moment’
      as modifier ‘a spur-of-the-moment decision’
      • ‘The couple, who are both retired, had decided to go on holiday on the spur of the moment to take advantage of the good weather.’
      • ‘He wrote on the spur of the moment and perhaps without giving the subject the careful thought it deserved.’
      • ‘I think he just said that on the spur of the moment.’
      • ‘I didn't plan it, I just did it on the spur of the moment, got in my car and started driving with my daughter.’
      • ‘That was an example of the kind of thing Ross would do on the spur of the moment: just invite someone along to join the band without consulting the rest of us.’
      • ‘A great idea I think, is an evening away, on the spur of the moment.’
      • ‘This was not a decision taken lightly or on the spur of the moment.’
      • ‘I chose to come almost on the spur of the moment, and have spent the last couple of evenings mingling with the loveliest of people.’
      • ‘I never thought I was one for routine. I had always pictured myself as someone who liked the adventure of doing things on the spur of the moment.’
      • ‘I'm not an impulsive person, I don't generally do things on the spur of the moment.’
      impulsively, on impulse, impetuously, without thinking, without planning, without premeditation, unpremeditatedly, impromptu, spontaneously, on the spot
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Origin

Old English spora, spura, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch spoor and German Sporn, also to spurn.

Pronunciation

spur

/spər//spər/