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spur

1
[spur]
noun
  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.
  3. climbing iron.
  4. 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.
  5. Pathology. a bony projection or exostosis.
  6. a sharp piercing or cutting instrument fastened to the leg of a gamecock in cockfighting; gaff.
  7. Physical Geography. a ridge or line of elevation projecting from or subordinate to the main body of a mountain or mountain range.
  8. something that projects and resembles or suggests a gaff; sharp projection.
  9. a short or stunted branch or shoot, as of a tree.
  10. Typography. a short, seriflike projection from the bottom of the short vertical stroke in the capital G in some fonts.
  11. wing dam.
  12. Botany.
    1. a slender, usually hollow, projection from some part of a flower, as from the calyx of the larkspur or the corolla of the violet.
    2. Also called spur shoot.a short shoot bearing flowers, as in fruit trees.
  13. Architecture.
    1. a short wooden brace, usually temporary, for strengthening a post or some other part.
    2. any offset from a wall, as a buttress.
    3. griffe2.
  14. Ceramics. a triangular support of refractory clay for an object being fired.
  15. Railroads. spur track.
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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.
  3. to furnish with spurs or a spur.
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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.
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Idioms
  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.
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Origin of spur

1
before 900; (noun) Middle English spure, Old English spura; cognate with Old High German sporo, Old Norse spori spur; akin to spurn; (v.) Middle English spuren, derivative of the noun
Related formsspur·less, adjectivespur·like, adjectivespur·rer, noun

Synonyms for spur

Antonyms for spur

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for win one's spurs

spur

noun
  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 encouragethe increase in salary was a spur to their production
  3. a sharp horny projection from the leg just above the claws in male birds, such as the domestic cock
  4. a pointed process in any of various animals; calcar
  5. a tubular extension at the base of the corolla in flowers such as larkspur
  6. a short or stunted branch of a tree
  7. a ridge projecting laterally from a mountain or mountain range
  8. a wooden prop or a masonry reinforcing pier
  9. another name for groyne
  10. Also called: spur track a railway branch line or siding
  11. a short side road leading off a main roada motorway spur
  12. a sharp cutting instrument attached to the leg of a gamecock
  13. on the spur of the moment on impulse
  14. win one's spurs
    1. historyto earn knighthood
    2. to prove one's ability; gain distinction
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verb spurs, spurring or spurred
  1. (tr) to goad or urge with or as if with spurs
  2. (intr) to go or ride quickly; press on
  3. (tr) to injure or strike with a spur
  4. (tr) to provide with a spur or spurs
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Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for win one's spurs

spur

n.

Old English spura, spora (related to spurnan "to kick," see spurn), from Proto-Germanic *spuron (cf. Old Norse spori, Middle Dutch spore, Dutch spoor, Old High German sporo, German Sporn "spur"), from PIE *spere- "ankle" (see spurn).

Generalized sense of "anything that urges on, stimulus," is from late 14c. Meaning "a ridge projecting off a mountain mass" is recorded from 1650s. "Widely extended senses ... are characteristic of a horsey race." [Weekley] Expression on the spur of the moment (1801) preserves archaic phrase on the spur "in great haste" (1520s). To win one's spurs is to gain knighthood by some valorous act, gilded spurs being the distinctive mark of a knight.

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spur

v.

c.1200, from spur (n.). Related: Spurred; spurring.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

win one's spurs in Medicine

spur

(spûr)
n.
  1. A spine or projection from a bone.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

win one's spurs in Science

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

Idioms and Phrases with win one's spurs

win one's spurs

Gain a position or attain distinction through hard work or some special accomplishment. For example, After two years of freelancing, she won her spurs as a programmer and was hired for the top job. This expression originally alluded to being knighted for some act of bravery and was being used figuratively by the mid-1500s.

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spur

In addition to the idiom beginning with spur

  • spur on

also see:

  • on the spur of the moment
  • win one's spurs
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.