from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A short spike or spiked wheel that attaches to the heel of a rider's boot and is used to urge a horse forward.
  • n. Something that serves as a goad or incentive.
  • n. A spurlike attachment or projection, as:
  • n. A spinelike process on the leg of some birds.
  • n. A climbing iron; a crampon.
  • n. A gaff attached to the leg of a gamecock.
  • n. A short or stunted branch of a tree.
  • n. A bony outgrowth or protuberance.
  • n. A lateral ridge projecting from a mountain or mountain range.
  • n. An oblique reinforcing prop or stay of timber or masonry.
  • n. Botany A tubular or saclike extension of the corolla or calyx of a flower, as in a columbine or larkspur.
  • n. An ergot growing on rye.
  • n. A spur track.
  • transitive v. To urge (a horse) on by the use of spurs.
  • transitive v. To incite or stimulate: "A business tax cut is needed to spur industrial investment” ( New York Times).
  • intransitive v. To ride quickly by spurring a horse.
  • intransitive v. To proceed in haste.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A rigid implement, often roughly y-shaped, that is fixed to one's heel for purpose of prodding a horse. Often worn by, and emblematic of, the cowboy or the knight.
  • n. Anything that inspires or motivates, as a spur does to a horse.
  • n. An appendage or spike pointing rearward, near the foot, for instance that of a rooster.
  • n. Any protruding part connected at one end, for instance a highway that extends from another highway into a city.
  • n. Roots, tree roots.
  • v. To prod (especially a horse) in the side or flank, with the intent to urge motion or haste, to gig.
  • v. To urge or encourage to action, or to a more vigorous pursuit of an object; to incite; to stimulate; to instigate; to impel; to drive.
  • v. To put spurs on; as, a spurred boot.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sparrow.
  • n. A tern.
  • n. An implement secured to the heel, or above the heel, of a horseman, to urge the horse by its pressure. Modern spurs have a small wheel, or rowel, with short points. Spurs were the badge of knighthood.
  • n. That which goads to action; an incitement.
  • n. Something that projects; a snag.
  • n. One of the large or principal roots of a tree.
  • n. Any stiff, sharp spine, as on the wings and legs of certain birds, on the legs of insects, etc.; especially, the spine on a cock's leg.
  • n. A mountain that shoots from any other mountain, or range of mountains, and extends to some distance in a lateral direction, or at right angles.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A brace strengthening a post and some connected part, as a rafter or crossbeam; a strut.
  • n.
  • n. The short wooden buttress of a post.
  • n. 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.
  • n.
  • n. Any projecting appendage of a flower looking like a spur.
  • n. Ergotized rye or other grain.
  • n. A wall that crosses a part of a rampart and joins to an inner wall.
  • n.
  • n. A piece of timber fixed on the bilge ways before launching, having the upper ends bolted to the vessel's side.
  • n. A curved piece of timber serving as a half beam to support the deck where a whole beam can not be placed.
  • n. A branch of a vein.
  • n. The track of an animal, as an otter; a spoor.
  • intransitive v. To spur on one's horse; to travel with great expedition; to hasten; hence, to press forward in any pursuit.
  • transitive v. To prick with spurs; to incite to a more hasty pace; to urge or goad.
  • transitive v. To urge or encourage to action, or to a more vigorous pursuit of an object; to incite; to stimulate; to instigate; to impel; to drive.
  • transitive v. To put spurs on.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To prick or rasp with the point or rowel of a spur.
  • Figuratively, to urge or incite.
  • To hasten.
  • To fasten spurs to, as a horseman's boot, or a solleret.
  • To furnish with spurs, as a rider: as, booted and spurred; to furnish with a spur or gaff, as a game-cock.
  • To prop; support.
  • To prick one's horse with the spur; ride in haste.
  • Figuratively, to press forward.
  • n. A pointed instrument worn on the heel by a horseman to goad the horse.
  • n. Anything which goads, impels, or urges to action; incitement; instigation; incentive; stimulus: used in this sense in the phrase on or upon the spur of the moment—that is, on a momentary impulse; suddenly; hastily; impromptu.
  • n. Some projecting thing more or less closely resembling a horseman's spur in form or position.
  • n. plural Short small twigs projecting a few inches from the trunk.
  • n. A snag; a spine; specifically, in herpetology:
  • n. An anal spur.
  • n. A calcar of some frogs.
  • n. In entomology, a spine or stiff bristle on the leg.
  • n. In ornithology: A horny modification of the integument of a bird's foot, forming an outgrowth of the nature of a claw, usually sharp-pointed and supported on a bony core, and used as a weapon of offense and defense; a calcar. Such a spur differs from a clan mainly in not ending a digit, but being an offset from the side of the metatarsus; it is also characteristic; of though not confined to the male, and is therefore a secondary sexual character. It is familiar as occurring on the shank of the domestic cock and other gallinaceous birds, and is sometimes double or treble, as in Pavo bicalcaratus and in the genera Galloperdix, Ithaginis, and Polyplectron. See cuts under calcarate, Galloperdix, Ithaginis, pea-fowl, Polyplectron, Rasores, and tarsometatarsus. A similar horny outgrowth on the pinion-bone of the wing in various birds, resembling a claw, but differing in being a lateral offset not terminating a digit. It occurs in certain geese, plovers, pigeons, and jacanas, and is double in the screamer. See cuts under jacana, Palamedea, and spur-winged.
  • n. In sporting, a gaff, or sharp piercing or cutting instrument fastened upon the natural spur of a game-cock In the pit.
  • n. In mammalogy, the calcarof some bats.
  • n. In physical geography, a ridge or line of elevation subordinate to the main body or crest of a mountainrange; one of the lower divisions of a mountain-mass, when this, as is frequently the case, is divided by valleys or gorges. See mountain-chain.
  • n. A climbing-iron used in mounting telegraph-poles and the like.
  • n. (J) In carpentry, a brace connecting or strengthening a post and some other part, as a rafter or cross-beam.
  • n. In architecture, any offset from a wall, etc., as a buttress; specifically, the claw or griffe projecting from the toru sat each of the angles of the base of early Pointed medieval columns.
  • n. In botany, a calcar; a slender hollow projection from some part of a flower, as from the calyx of columbine and larkspur and the corolla of violets. It is usually nectariferous, being the nectary (nectarium) of Linnæus. The term is also rarely applied to a solid spur-like process. See also cuts under nectary, columbine, and Delphinium.
  • n. In fortification, a wall that crosses a part of the rampart and joins it to an anterior work; also, a tower or blockhouse placed in the outworks before the port
  • n. In ship-building;
  • n. A shore or piece of timber extending from the bilgeways, and fayed and bolted to the bottom of the ship on the stocks.
  • n. A curved piece of timber serving as a half beam to support the deck where a whole beam cannot be placed.
  • n. A heavy timber extended from a pier or wharf against the side of a ship to prevent the ship from striking against the pier.
  • n. In hydraul, engin., awing-dam, or projection built out from a river-bank to deflect the current.
  • n. On a casting, a fin, or projection of waste metal.
  • n. A small piece of refractory clay ware with one or more projecting points, used in a kiln to support or separate articles in a saggar during firing, and to prevent the pieces from adhering to the saggar and to each other. Also called stilt.
  • n. In an auger, a projecting point on the edge, which makes the circular cut, from which the chip is removed by the lip. See cut under auger.
  • n. The prong on the arms of some forms of patent anchors, for the purpose of catching on the bottom and making the fluke bite or take hold more quickly. See cut under anchor.
  • n. In printing, a register-point.
  • n. In anatomy, the angle at which the arteries leave a cavity or trunk.
  • n. In mining, a branch of a vein; a feeder or dropper.
  • n.
  • n. The ridge in the interior of a bifurcating tube between the two branches given off from it.
  • n. In horticulture, a twig or short branch that bears flowers and fruit, in distinction from one that continues to elongate in woody growth.
  • n. A side-track running out from a main railway line and forming part of a Y.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. goad with spurs
  • n. a railway line connected to a trunk line
  • n. tubular extension at the base of the corolla in some flowers
  • n. a sharp prod fixed to a rider's heel and used to urge a horse onward
  • v. give heart or courage to
  • v. strike with a spur
  • n. any sharply pointed projection
  • n. a verbalization that encourages you to attempt something
  • v. incite or stimulate
  • v. equip with spurs


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English spure, from Old English spura.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English spora.



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  • A subsidiary summit to a mountain. A lower summit than the parent peak but sharing the same ridgeline.

    January 26, 2009

  • German for trace.

    January 9, 2008