[ spur ]
See synonyms for: spurspurredspurringspurs on Thesaurus.com

  1. a U-shaped device that slips over and straps to the heel of a boot and has a blunt, pointed, or roweled projection at the back for use by a mounted rider to urge a horse forward.

  2. anything that goads, impels, or urges, as to action, speed, or achievement.

  1. Also called climbing spur . climbing iron.

  2. Ornithology. a stiff, usually sharp, horny process on the leg of various birds, especially the domestic rooster, or on the bend of the wing, as in jacanas and screamers.

  3. Pathology. a bony projection or exostosis.

  4. a sharp piercing or cutting instrument fastened to the leg of a gamecock in cockfighting; gaff.

  5. something that projects and resembles or suggests a gaff; sharp projection.

  6. Physical Geography. a ridge or line of elevation projecting from or subordinate to the main body of a mountain or mountain range.

  7. a short or stunted branch or shoot, as of a tree.

  8. Typography. a short, seriflike projection from the bottom of the short vertical stroke in the capital G in some fonts.

  9. Botany.

    • a slender, usually hollow, projection from some part of a flower, as from the calyx of the larkspur or the corolla of the violet.

    • Also called spur shoot . a short shoot bearing flowers, as in fruit trees.

  10. Architecture.

    • a short wooden brace, usually temporary, for strengthening a post or some other part.

    • any offset from a wall, as a buttress.

  11. Ceramics. a triangular support of refractory clay for an object being fired.

  12. Railroads. spur track.

verb (used with object),spurred, spur·ring.
  1. to prick with or as if with a spur or spurs; incite or urge on: The rider spurred his mount ruthlessly. Appreciation spurs ambition.

  2. to strike or wound with the spur, as a gamecock.

  1. to furnish with spurs or a spur.

verb (used without object),spurred, spur·ring.
  1. to goad or urge one's horse with spurs or a spur; ride quickly.

  2. to proceed hurriedly; press forward: We spurred onward through the night.

Idioms about spur

  1. on the spur of the moment, without deliberation; impulsively; suddenly: We headed for the beach on the spur of the moment.

  2. win one's spurs, to achieve distinction or success for the first time; prove one's ability or worth: Our team hasn't won its spurs yet.

Origin of spur

First recorded before 900; Middle English noun spore, spor(re), Old English spora, spura; cognate with Old High German sporo, Old Norse spori “spur”; verb derivative of the noun; akin to spurn

Other words for spur

Opposites for spur

Other words from spur

  • spurless, adjective
  • spurlike, adjective
  • spurrer, noun

Words Nearby spur

Other definitions for spur (2 of 2)

[ spur ]

  1. a batch of newly made rag-paper sheets.

Origin of spur

First recorded in 1880–85; origin uncertain

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use spur in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for spur


/ (spɜː) /

  1. a pointed device or sharp spiked wheel fixed to the heel of a rider's boot to enable him to urge his horse on

  2. anything serving to urge or encourage: the increase in salary was a spur to their production

  1. a sharp horny projection from the leg just above the claws in male birds, such as the domestic cock

  2. a pointed process in any of various animals; calcar

  3. a tubular extension at the base of the corolla in flowers such as larkspur

  4. a short or stunted branch of a tree

  5. a ridge projecting laterally from a mountain or mountain range

  6. a wooden prop or a masonry reinforcing pier

  7. another name for groyne

  8. Also called: spur track a railway branch line or siding

  9. a short side road leading off a main road: a motorway spur

  10. a sharp cutting instrument attached to the leg of a gamecock

  11. on the spur of the moment on impulse

  12. win one's spurs

    • history to earn knighthood

    • to prove one's ability; gain distinction

verbspurs, spurring or spurred
  1. (tr) to goad or urge with or as if with spurs

  2. (intr) to go or ride quickly; press on

  1. (tr) to injure or strike with a spur

  2. (tr) to provide with a spur or spurs

Origin of spur

Old English spura; related to Old Norse spori, Old High German sporo

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for spur


[ spûr ]

  1. A small ridge that projects sharply from the side of a larger hill or mountain.

  2. A projection from a bone, as on the heel of the foot.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with spur


In addition to the idiom beginning with spur

  • spur on

also see:

  • on the spur of the moment
  • win one's spurs

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.