Spur(redirected from on the spur of the moment)
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(1) In birds, a horny spine situated on a protuberance of the bones of the posterior or anterior legs. The spur serves as a defensive or offensive weapon. In Phasianidae the spur is located on the dorsal side of the metatarsal bone; it occurs most often in males. The tooth-billed pigeon, the spurred lapwing, and jacanas have a single spur, whereas screamers have two spurs on the bend of the wings. Spur-winged geese have sharp spurs on the metatarsal bones and on the wing folds.
(2) In cloacal mammals, spurs are found on the hind limbs, near the tarsus. They are well developed in males; females have only a rudiment of a spur. Inside the spur there is a duct of a poisonous gland, which is weakly expressed in females. The sharp back claws on the inside digits of the hind legs of the clawed frog are also referred to as spurs.
a small, curved piece of metal that has a spike or a small wheel and that is secured to a horseman’s shoe at the heel. Spurs are used to control the horse. Spurs were first used by the Celts, with the earliest archaeological finds dating from the fifth century B.C. Spurs were mentioned by Greek authors as early as the fourth century B.C. Although such gear was not worn in the ancient East, medieval Eastern peoples did use in its place a point on the rear of the stirrup.
Spurs were first worn in what is now the USSR in the first and second centuries A.D., among tribes of the Lipitsa and Przeworsk cultures, in what is now the Western Ukraine. Spurs came to be widely used in ancient Rus’. In the Middle Ages, spurs were an attribute of knighthood. The present-day spur is a small, curved implement with a small wheel, or rowel, attached to the fork at the end of the spur’s neck. 129–1407–1]
spere, speer, spier, spur
[Listed in CACM 2(5):16 (May 1959)].