Spur vs. spurn

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As a verb, spur means to incite or stimulate. It comes from horseback riding, where one might urge on a horse with one’s spurs.

The main definition of spurn is to reject disdainfully. It doubles as a noun meaning a disdainful rejection.



Growing wealth from the emerging economies, largely in Asia Pacific, helped spur the demand for these so-called “investments of passion”. [Guardian]

But his death in October has spurred a contest for another octopus to take his place. [Time]

The solar industry is spurring economic growth in every community it touches. [Austin American-Statesman]


Similarly, no particular piece of cake will ruin our diet but we must spurn enough of them or else we’ll never lose weight. [Financial Times]

But it also made villains of them in some people’s eyes, especially James who spurned his home town Cleveland to join the Heat. [The Age]

A 48 year-old Dudley man has been jailed for six months after spurning the chance to keep his freedom. [Dudley News]