Definition of spur in English:

spur

Pronunciation /spər/

Translate spur into Spanish

noun

  • 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.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Make sure your personal equipment, including boots and spurs, has been worn prior to the show.’
    • ‘The riders will be dressed in their Army Dress Blue uniform with riding breeches, boots and their silver spurs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He shook his head to dismiss the troublesome thoughts, and dug his spurs into the flanks of the horse.’
    1. 1.1A 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. 1.2A 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’
    • ‘Openness to trade acts as a spur to efficiency, innovation, and international competitiveness generally.’
    • ‘Inequality is natural, inevitable and may even be a good thing - a spur to ambition, competition and achievement.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her experience on the show acted as a spur to her ambition and she flew to California with £750 in her pocket.’
    • ‘For those not yet at the repayment date this could be a spur to reconsider their mortgages.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Everyone knows that competition can be both healthy (acting as a spur to progress) or negative, which is hurtful as well as wasteful.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Their continuing presence is a spur to violence.’
    • ‘For those of our readers who specialize in this subject, this should serve both as an expert review and a spur to fresh thinking.’
    • ‘That will give a spur to additional investment and, therefore, to additional productivity.’
    • ‘Perhaps genius - even the illusion of genius - is a spur that throws us forward.’
    • ‘Another spur to expeditions from the 1790s was the desire of British Protestant churches to evangelize overseas.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The conservationist-author points out that the urge to find, dam, and channel water is one of the earliest spurs to technological advance.’
    • ‘For example, proximity to one's home and community may act as a spur to some to fight harder.’
    • ‘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.’
    stimulus, incentive, encouragement, stimulant, stimulation, inducement, impetus, prod, prompt
    View synonyms
  • 3A projection from a mountain or mountain range.

    ‘it's an easy walk up the spur that leads to the summit’
    • ‘The terrain between the spur of the mountain range and the sea is flat and thickly forested.’
    • ‘The hilltop spur has stunning views across the Severn valley.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 3.1A short branch road or rail line.
      ‘The main spine would run between the existing and heavily-used west coast and east coast lines, with spurs to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.’
      • ‘The work will also include a spur road into the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow.’
      • ‘At the airport, a system of rail spurs would connect aviation-related businesses, warehouses and cargo storage areas.’
      • ‘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.’
    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.’
      • ‘Some have large flowers with longer spurs, while others have smaller double flowers with short spurs, or no spurs at all.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Instead, longer spurs only seem to be an advantage when long-tongued insects are the sole pollinators.’
      • ‘Yet short floral spurs are not necessarily a reproductive disadvantage.’
    3. 3.3A short fruit-bearing side shoot.
      ‘For apples and Japanese plums, thin to one fruit per cluster, and be careful to not damage long-lived fruiting spurs.’
      • ‘The spurs produce blossoms and fruit year after year, and should be saved wherever possible.’
      • ‘Check all your climbers have enough support and tie in new spurs and shoots before they get snapped in the wind.’
      • ‘Apple trees, at the other extreme, produce fruit on long-lived, very short, knobby branches, called spurs, so they need little such stimulus.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The presence of calcaneal bone spurs on plain radiographs has no value in making or excluding the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.’
      • ‘New spurs of bone often develop at the margins of the affected joints.’
      • ‘In this type of procedure, resection of a calcaneal spur is generally not performed.’
      • ‘Damaged, exposed bone forms spurs that interfere with movement.’

transitive verbspurs, spurring, spurred

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

    • ‘she spurred her horse towards the hedge’
    impel, spur, spur on, force, drive, coerce, goad
    View synonyms
  • 2Give an incentive or encouragement to (someone)

    • ‘her sons' passion for computer games spurred her on to set up a software business’
    motivate, inspire, stimulate, encourage, spur, spur on, galvanize, arouse, rouse, excite, stir, stir up, fire, fire with enthusiasm, make enthusiastic, fire the imagination of
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Promote the development of; stimulate.
      • ‘governments cut interest rates to spur demand’
      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’
      • ‘I'm not an impulsive person, I don't generally do things on the spur of the moment.’
      • ‘He wrote on the spur of the moment and perhaps without giving the subject the careful thought it deserved.’
      • ‘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 think he just said that on the spur of the moment.’
      • ‘A great idea I think, is an evening away, 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This was not a decision taken lightly or on the spur of the moment.’
      • ‘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.’

Origin

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