On the spur of the moment

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On the spur of the moment means to do something without advance planning, to do something on impulse. A spur is a spiked attachment worn on a rider’s boot that is used to urge a horse into action. In the early 1500s, the phrase on the spur meant in great haste. This expression evolved into today’s idiom, on the spur of the moment, first used around 1800 to mean to do something without forethought, to act impulsively. While the average person’s involvement with horses has waned considerably since 1800, the use of the idiom on the spur of the moment has maintained popularity. When used as an adjective before the noun it modifies, spur-of-the-moment is hyphenated.


“I never intended to sell my kidney. This statement was made on the spur of the moment for which I am truly sorry,” Dixit wrote. (The Guardian)

The beauty of snipe hunting is that it can be done on the spur of the moment with a minimum of gear and preparation. (Florida Sportsman Magazine)

“But then we decided it would be great to create something new, on the spur of the moment.” (The Mirror)

Newton ran the ball and, on the spur of the moment, decided to vault over the only defender who had a chance to tackle him. (The Winston-Salem Journal)

That’s what top-flight jazz musicians do, of course: create polished art on the spur of the moment. (The Chicago Tribune)

Both Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska first appeared in Ashes to Ashes, and were spur-of-the-moment creations.  (The Huffington Post)

According to Mayor Paul Walker, changing the time for the meetings was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. (The Fort Madison Daily Democrat)

Miss West Coast director Troy Barbagallo said the “beautiful gesture” was a spur-of-the-moment decision by the men after they saw Ms Smith’s distress. (The West Australian)