To spur something on is to get it going, to encourage it, to hasten it or stimulate. Cowboys wear spiky metal tools called spurs on their boots to kick their horses and spur them to greater speed.

Economists talk of lowering interest rates to spur spending. A new source of funding for research will hopefully spur new proposals for research from scientists. An earthquake in China might spur cities in California to a higher standard of earthquake preparedness. You might spur your team on to victory by cheering from the sidelines.

Primary Meanings of spur

a prod fixed to a rider's heel and used to urge a horse onward
strike with a spur
incite or stimulate
a verbalization that encourages you to attempt something
Full Definitions of spur

n a prod fixed to a rider's heel and used to urge a horse onward

“cowboys know not to squat with their spurs on”
Type of:
goad, prod
a pointed instrument that is used to prod into a state of motion

n any sharply pointed projection

acantha, spine
Type of:
any solid convex shape that juts out from something

n tubular extension at the base of the corolla in some flowers

Type of:
enation, plant process
a natural projection or outgrowth from a plant body or organ

n a railway line connected to a trunk line

branch line, spur track
a railway branch line that branches from the trunk line and then rejoins it later on
Type of:
line, rail line, railway line
the road consisting of railroad track and roadbed

v strike with a spur

Type of:
deliver a sharp blow, as with the hand, fist, or weapon

v goad with spurs

“the rider spurred his horse”
Type of:
urge with or as if with a goad

v equip with spurs

spur horses”
Type of:
equip, fit, fit out, outfit
provide with (something) usually for a specific purpose

v incite or stimulate

“The Academy was formed to spur research”
Type of:
advance, boost, encourage, further, promote
contribute to the progress or growth of

v give heart or courage to

Type of:
inspire with confidence; give hope or courage to

n a verbalization that encourages you to attempt something

goad, goading, prod, prodding, spurring, urging
Type of:
the expression of approval and support

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