Pronunciation Noun

spur (plural spurs)

  1. A rigid implement, often roughly y-shaped, that is fixed to one's heel for the purpose of prodding a horse. Often worn by, and emblematic of, the cowboy or the knight.
    • 1598, William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act IV, Scene VI, line 4:
      Lives he, good uncle? thrice within this hour I saw him down; thrice up again, and fighting; From helmet to the spur all blood he was.
    • 1786, Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons, page 22:
      Two sorts of spurs seem to have been in use about the time of the Conquest, one called a pryck, having only a single point like the gaffle of a fighting cock; the other consisting of a number of points of considerable length, radiating from and revolving on a center, thence named the rouelle or wheel spur.
  2. A jab given with the spurs.
    • 1832, The Atheneum (volume 31, page 493)
      I had hardly said the word, when Kit jumped into the saddle, and gave his horse a whip and a spur — and off it cantered, as if it were in as great a hurry to be married as Kit himself.
  3. Anything that inspires or motivates, as a spur does a horse.
    • 1601, William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act II, Scene II, line 198.
      But, worthy Hector, She is a theme of honour and renown, A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds...
  4. An appendage or spike pointing rearward, near the foot, for instance that of a rooster.
  5. Any protruding part connected at one end, for instance a highway that extends from another highway into a city.
  6. Roots, tree roots.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act IV, Scene II, line 57:
      I do note / That grief and patience, rooted in them both, / Mingle their spurs together.
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 5 scene 1
      […] the strong-bas'd promontory
      Have I made shake; and by the spurs pluck'd up
      The pine and cedar […]
  7. A mountain that shoots from another mountain or range and extends some distance in a lateral direction, or at right angles.
  8. A spiked iron worn by seamen upon the bottom of the boot, to enable them to stand upon the carcass of a whale to strip off the blubber.
  9. (carpentry) A brace strengthening a post and some connected part, such as a rafter or crossbeam; a strut.
  10. (architecture) The short wooden buttress of a post.
  11. (architecture) A projection from the round base of a column, occupying the angle of a square plinth upon which the base rests, or bringing the bottom bed of the base to a nearly square form. It is generally carved in leafage.
  12. Ergotized rye or other grain.
  13. A wall in a fortification that crosses a part of a rampart and joins to an inner wall.
  14. (shipbuilding) A piece of timber fixed on the bilgeways before launching, having the upper ends bolted to the vessel's side.
  15. (shipbuilding) A curved piece of timber serving as a half to support the deck where a whole beam cannot be placed.
  16. (mining) A branch of a vein.
  17. A very short branch line of a railway line.
Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

spur (spurs, present participle spurring; past and past participle spurred)

  1. (transitive) To prod (especially a horse) on the side or flank, with the intent to urge motion or haste, to gig.
    • 1592, William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act V, Scene III, line 339:
      Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head! Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood; Amaze the welkin with your broken staves!
  2. (transitive) To urge or encourage to action, or to a more vigorous pursuit of an object
    Synonyms: incite, stimulate, instigate, impel, drive, Thesaurus:incite
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act III, Scene IV, line 4.
      My desire / (More sharp than filed steel) did spur me forth...
  3. (transitive) To put spurs on.
    to spur boots
  4. (intransitive) To press forward; to travel in great haste.
Translations Translations Translations
  • Italian: montare gli speroni

spur (plural spurs)

  1. A tern.

spur (plural spurs)

  1. (electronics) A spurious tone, one that interferes with a signal in a circuit and is often masked underneath that signal.

spur (plural spurs)

  1. The track of an animal, such as an otter; a spoor.


  1. (obsolete, dialectal) Alternative form of speer.
    • c. 1590, [John Lyly], Mother Bombie. […], London: Imprinted by Thomas Scarlet for Cuthbert Burby, published 1594, OCLC 222361197 ↗; 2nd edition, London: Printed by Thomas Creede, for Cuthbert Burby, 1598, OCLC 84756132 ↗, Act IV, scene ii ↗:
      I haue yonder vncouered a faire girle, Ile be ſo bolde as ſpur her, vvhat might a bodie call her name?
    • 1625, John Fletcher; Philip Massinger, “The Elder Brother. A Comedy.”, in Fifty Comedies and Tragedies. […], [part 1], London: Printed by J[ohn] Macock [and H. Hills], for John Martyn, Henry Herringman, and Richard Marriot, published 1679, OCLC 1015511273 ↗, Act IV, scene iv, page 119 ↗, column 1:
      Are you come, old Maſter? Very good, your Horſe is well ſet up; but ere you part, I'll ride you, and ſpur your Reverend Juſticeſhip ſuch a queſtion, as I ſhall make the ſides of your Reputation bleed, truly I will. Now muſt I play at Bo-peep.
    • 1638, Thomas Heywood, "The Rape of Lucrece. A true Roman Tragedy", in The Dramatic Works of Thomas Heywood, Vol. V, John Pearson, 1874, pages 230 & 231.
      quote en
    • The Pall Mall Magazine, Vol. 33, 1904, page 435.
      quote en


spur (plural spurs)

  1. (soccer) someone connected with Tottenham Hotspur FC, as a fan, player, coach etc.

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