1 [spur]
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.
anything that goads, impels, or urges, as to action, speed, or achievement.
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.
Pathology. a bony projection or exostosis.
a sharp piercing or cutting instrument fastened to the leg of a gamecock in cockfighting; gaff.
Physical Geography. a ridge or line of elevation projecting from or subordinate to the main body of a mountain or mountain range.
something that projects and resembles or suggests a gaff; sharp projection.
a short or stunted branch or shoot, as of a tree.
Typography. a short, seriflike projection from the bottom of the short vertical stroke in the capital G in some fonts.
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.
a short wooden brace, usually temporary, for strengthening a post or some other part.
any offset from a wall, as a buttress.
Ceramics. a triangular support of refractory clay for an object being fired.
Railroads. spur track.
verb (used with object), spurred, spurring.
to prick with or as if with a spur or spurs; incite or urge on: The rider spurred his mount ruthlessly. Appreciation spurs ambition.
to strike or wound with the spur, as a gamecock.
to furnish with spurs or a spur.
verb (used without object), spurred, spurring.
to goad or urge one's horse with spurs or a spur; ride quickly.
to proceed hurriedly; press forward: We spurred onward through the night.
on the spur of the moment, without deliberation; impulsively; suddenly: We headed for the beach on the spur of the moment.
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.

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

spurless, adjective
spurlike, adjective
spurrer, noun

1, 2. goad. 2. incitement, stimulus, incentive, inducement, provocation, instigation. 16. goad, provoke, stimulate, impel, inspire, induce, instigate.

16. discourage.
Dictionary.com Unabridged


2 [spur]
noun Papermaking.
a batch of newly made rag-paper sheets.

1880–85; origin uncertain

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
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
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 road: a 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
 a.  history to earn knighthood
 b.  to prove one's ability; gain distinction
vb , spurs, spurring, spurred
15.  (tr) to goad or urge with or as if with spurs
16.  (intr) to go or ride quickly; press on
17.  (tr) to injure or strike with a spur
18.  (tr) to provide with a spur or spurs
[Old English spura; related to Old Norse spori, Old High German sporo]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. spura, spora (related to spurnan "to kick," see spurn), from P.Gmc. *spuron (cf. O.N. spori, M.Du. spore, Du. spoor, O.H.G. sporo, Ger. 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. The verb is attested c.1200, from the noun. "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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

spur (spûr)
A spine or projection from a bone.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
spur   (spûr)  Pronunciation Key 
  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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Computing Dictionary

SPUR definition

An early system on the IBM 650.
[Listed in CACM 2(5):16 (May 1959)].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with spur, also see on the spur of the moment; win one's spurs.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Each spur will produce two fruit-bearing shoots during the next growing season.
Nearly all of the difference in spur length can be attributed to the length of the cells.
Their distinctive thighbones, which sport a downward-pointing spur, are easy to recognize.
Natural selection, it appears, can spur the emergence of new species far faster
  than expected.
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