What does the idiom "on the spur of the moment" mean?

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does on the spur of the moment mean? In what situations is on the spur of the moment used?

Meaning of "on the spur of the moment"


The idiom "on the spur of the moment" means to do something spontaneously, without premeditation, often resulting in doing something unexpected or unpredictable.


The phrase "on the spur of the moment" originated in the 15th century, and is derived from the idea of a spur, which is a tool that was used to urge animals forward at the time. The phrase is meant to suggest the idea of an immediate and unplanned action, spurred forward without much thought.


The phrase "on the spur of the moment" is typically used to describe any immediate decision or action. It is often used to emphasize the unexpected nature of the action that took place. For example, someone might say "I decided to take a vacation on the spur of the moment," to emphasize that the vacation was not planned and was instead a spontaneous decision.

Example Sentences

  • I saw an old friend in the street, so I decided to invite him out for coffee on the spur of the moment.
  • I decided to quit my job on the spur of the moment - I just woke up one day and decided it was time for a change.
  • We decided to go on an impromptu road trip on the spur of the moment - it was an adventure!

The meanings of the words in the "on the spur of the moment" idiom

From Shakespeare to Social Media: The Evolution of English Idioms

English idioms have been around for centuries, with many originating from sources like literature, mythology, and everyday life. Shakespeare, for example, coined many phrases that are still used today, such as "break the ice" and "heart of gold." Over time, new idioms have emerged, with social media and popular culture providing rich sources of inspiration. For instance, the phrase "throwing shade" came into use in the 1990s thanks to ball culture, but has since been popularized by social media.


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