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To urge, encourage, or goad someone onward in some task or activity. Likened to applying the spurs on one's boots to compel a horse to move forward or go faster. A noun or pronoun can be used between "spur" and "on." There were times when she wanted to give up, but her desire to beat her rival in the championship spurred her on. Analysts think the president's recent actions have spurred on the economy.
spur someone on
to urge someone onward; to egg someone on. (Fig. on applying spurs to a horse.) The crowd spurred the runners on throughout the race. The cheering spurred on the runners.
Goad or urge ahead, as in The thought of winning a Pulitzer Prize spurred the reporter on. This expression transfers using spurs to make a horse go faster to incentives of other kinds. [Late 1500s]
1. To urge some horse onward by the use of spurs: The knight spurred the horse on across the shallow river. I spurred on the horse as fast as it could go.
2. To stimulate or encourage someone or something: Low gas prices spurred on the booming economy. We never could have finished the project if our boss hadn't spurred us on.