Definition of spur in English:

spur

Line breaks: spur
Pronunciation: /spəː
 
/

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.
More example sentences
  • 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.
1.1A horny spike on the back of the leg of a cock or male game bird, used in fighting.
More example sentences
  • 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.
1.2A steel point fastened to the leg of a gamecock.
More example sentences
  • 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.
1.3 Medicine A short pointed growth or process on a part of the body.
More example sentences
  • 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.
2A thing that prompts or encourages someone; an incentive: wars act as a spur to practical invention
More example sentences
  • 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.
Synonyms
stimulus, incentive, encouragement, stimulant, stimulation, inducement, impetus, prod, prompt; incitement, goad; fillip; motive, motivation
informal kick up the backside, shot in the arm
3A thing that projects or branches off from a main body, in particular:
More example sentences
  • The gallery formed a spur jutting off the main building and was entered at its eastern end through the door that had not been walled up after Elizabeth's visit.
Synonyms
projection, spike; protuberance, protrusion
technical process
3.1A projection from a mountain or mountain range: it’s an easy walk up the spur that leads to the summit
More example sentences
  • 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.
3.2A short branch road or railway line.
More example sentences
  • 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.
3.3 Botany A slender tubular projection from the base of a flower, e.g. a honeysuckle or orchid, typically containing nectar.
More example sentences
  • 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.
3.4A short fruit-bearing side shoot.
More example sentences
  • 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.
4A small, single-pointed support for ceramic ware in a kiln.

verb (spurs, spurring, spurred)

[with object] Back to top  
1Urge (a horse) forward by digging one’s spurs into its sides: she spurred her horse towards the hedge
More example sentences
  • Gregor mutters a few more obscenities and turned back in his saddle before spurring his horse forward.
  • All three spurred their horses forward at the same time.
  • He shot her a grin before spurring his horse forward.
1.1Give an incentive or encouragement to (someone): her sons' passion for computer games spurred her on to set up a software shop
More example sentences
  • However, the reward of seeing the mighty Everest from Kala Pattar - a 5,545 metre adjacent peak - was incentive enough to spur us on.
  • Encouraging feedback from reviewers and reading groups is spurring Chris on.
  • He said: ‘The article really brought home how these people suffer and it spurred me on.’
1.2Promote the development of; stimulate: governments cut interest rates to spur demand
More example sentences
  • Growth is picking up around the world as countries slash taxes and cut rates to spur demand
  • 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.
  • A rise in gas prices will spur development of alternative energy sources.
Synonyms
stimulate, give the incentive to, act as a stimulus/incentive to, encourage, prompt, propel, prod, induce, impel, motivate, move, galvanize, inspire, urge, drive, egg on, stir; incite, goad, provoke, prick, sting
North American informal root on, light a fire under
2Prune in (a side shoot of a plant) so as to form a spur close to the stem: spur back the lateral shoots

Origin

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

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
More example sentences
  • 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.
Synonyms
impulsively, on impulse, impetuously, without thinking, without planning, without premeditation, unpremeditatedly, impromptu, spontaneously, on the spot; suddenly, all of a sudden, unexpectedly, out of the blue

put (or set) spurs to

Use one’s spurs to urge on (a horse).
More example sentences
  • The King and Francois put spurs to their horses and took off at a fast pace, and there was no more leisure for conversation as the rest of the party followed suit.
  • He immediately put spurs to the animal and was soon far out of the way.
  • When he saw the two still coming, the lone rider wheeled around and joined the others; then all six put spurs to their horses and were soon out of sight behind a higher ridge.

Derivatives

spurless

adjective
More example sentences
  • Because the hammer is spurless and flat to the frame when at rest, the grip tang is the shortest and most concealable that has ever been offered on a practical 1911 pistol.
  • We grew many varieties in the test garden - both mounding plants and climbers, spurred and spurless.

spurred

adjective
More example sentences
  • Tucking his chin into his chest, he dug his spurred heels in tight.
  • Their cheerful flowers are flat-faced, sporting two side petals, two upper petals, and one slender spurred petal.
  • This latter plant is about 7.5cm tall with short spurred violet-blue flowers in summer and small rosettes of finely divided blue-grey or grey-green leaves.

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