verb (past sprang /spraŋ/ or chiefly North American sprung /sprʌŋ/; past participle sprung)
- 1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move or jump suddenly or rapidly upwards or forwards: I sprang out of bed • figurative they sprang to her defenceMore example sentences
- Violet suddenly sprang forward and seized her by the arm.
- Suddenly one of the men sprung forward in an attempt to grab Rachel.
- Then the leader sprang forward toward me, pointing his gun at me.
- 1.1 [no object, with complement or adverbial] Move rapidly or suddenly from a constrained position by or as if by the action of a spring: the drawer sprang openMore example sentences
- This time the top drawer sprang open, just missing my head.
- The holder clips onto your jacket and when you get to a ski lift you simply pull it out to insert the pass into the reader and it springs back into position.
- He started to drive off, but the boot sprang open.
- 1.2Operate suddenly by means of a mechanism: the engine sprang into lifeMore example sentences
- The freighter's engines sprang to life, deafening its only two occupants.
- Since the recruitment drive sprung into operation last month, a staggering 248 new members have signed up.
- She pressed down on a button and the ship shuddered as the main engine sprung to life.
- 1.4 [with object] • informal Bring about the escape or release of (a prisoner): the president sought to spring the hostagesMore example sentences
- We cannot intervene with the police to get British citizens released, nor spring them from jail.
- All was right in the Harriet house until the culprits were sprung from jail by their eighteen-year-old son.
- The other is 23 and was recently sprung from prison after serving a couple of sentences for drug/weapons charges.
- 2 [no object] (spring from) Originate or arise from: madness and creativity could spring from the same sourceMore example sentences
- But the inspiration for Faulks' new novel originally sprang from a childhood memory of a ‘peculiar boy’ in the village where he grew up, and the tragic illness of a family friend.
- There are several research questions that spring from the results of this study.
- Beardslee's knowledge and passion for this issue springs from his own quest for answers following his sister's depression and suicide.
- 2.1Appear suddenly or unexpectedly from: tears sprang from his eyesMore example sentences
- She hugged me again and new tears sprang from her eyes.
- Where the blazes did he spring from?
- 2.2 (spring up) Suddenly develop or appear: a terrible storm sprang upMore example sentences
- Large commercial developments are starting to spring up in the town.
- Everywhere you turn in Glasgow it seems another new development with an evocative name is springing up.
- Then, almost unnoticed, a playful breeze sprang up, which turned rather suddenly into something stiffer.
- 2.3 [with object] (spring something on) Present or propose something suddenly or unexpectedly to (someone): we decided to spring a surprise on themMore example sentences
announce suddenly/unexpectedly, present suddenly/unexpectedly, introduce suddenly/unexpectedly, reveal suddenly/unexpectedly
- Latham is at his best when he springs surprises on the Government.
- Life has a habit of springing surprises on you, pleasant and unpleasant.
- He said: ‘The Home Secretary was wrong to spring his decision on the police authority, and they are within their rights to take the final decision.’
- 3 [with object] (usually as adjective sprung) Cushion or fit (a vehicle or item of furniture) with springs: a fully sprung bedMore example sentences
- He introduced ambulances volantes, light, two-wheeled, sprung vehicles, drawn by two horses, for the rapid evacuation of the wounded.
- Also, the NSX felt skittish at high speed along poor surfaces, but that's not unusual for such a firmly sprung car.
- This is a softly sprung car, which makes it roll at the slightest hint of a corner.
- 5 [no object] (spring for) North American • informal Pay for: don’t spring for the album until you’ve heard itMore example sentences
- Of course, on the upside, we bridesmaids get to wear our own outfits and she's springing for Manolos for everyone.
- When I was a lad a baseball cap was a baseball cap, even if you weren't springing for the top-of-the-line officially-licensed fitted variety.
- Besides, it's your folks' fault for not springing for voicemail.
- 5.1 [with object] • archaic Spend (money): he might spring a few shillings moreMore example sentences
- I'd rather spring an extra dollar for one of her foil-wrapped, stuffed baked potatoes (that's real bacon in there) than content myself with institutional fries.
- 6 [with object] Australian • informal Come upon (an illicit activity or its perpetrator): our science teacher sprung me acting the goatMore example sentences
- He had snuck out of class for a crafty drag and a teacher, Jase, had sprung him.
- He figured that nobody would ever spring him, but he figured wrong.
- As we have seen this week, the Minister has been sprung.
nounBack to top
- 1The season after winter and before summer, in which vegetation begins to appear, in the northern hemisphere from March to May and in the southern hemisphere from September to November: in spring the garden is a feast of blossom [as modifier]: spring rainMore example sentences
- The peak breeding season is in late spring and early summer, although some breeding takes place throughout the year.
- Although the spring migration has barely begun, tens of thousands of geese and huge flocks of ducks are already here.
- The inland region has a continental climate with very cold winters, hot, humid summers, and spring and autumn seasons that are often rainy.
- 1.2 short for spring tide.More example sentences
- Wrasse feed on the neap tides and on the springs.
- The archipelago has a fourteen-foot tidal difference during spring and neap so the surroundings are ever changing, revealing its secrets.
- Gordon explained that the ideal tide for the Seven Stones was a low-water spring, with a good hour of slack water and the rocks exposed.
- 2An elastic device, typically a helical metal coil, that can be pressed or pulled but returns to its former shape when released, used chiefly to exert constant tension or absorb movement.More example sentences
- This apparatus is fitted with ropes and pulleys that are attached to taut springs to create tension.
- The tension on the spring can be adjusted using a wing nut so it can grip the line tightly or loosely, whatever the fishing situation demands.
- This simple action is controlled by a complex mass of gears, switches and springs, like you might find inside a watch.
- 2.1 [mass noun] The ability to spring back strongly; elasticity: the mattress has lost its springMore example sentences
- His size is a great advantage but he also has spring and ability - in fact he has every attribute to be a top line goalkeeper.
- Generally, the more twist in the carpet yarns, the more spring, which hides footprints.
- Groaning, I attempted to sit up as I felt the sharp jabbing a of a bed coil that had long lost its spring shove its way into my side.
- 3 [in singular] A sudden jump upwards or forwards: with a sudden spring, he leapt on to the tableMore example sentences
- With a spring, he jumped out of the alleyway and hoofed it back to his apartment.
- He rounded the upcoming corner as only he could; a jump and flip, then a spring off the wall of an adjacent building.
- The new year, however, will put a spring in their step.
- 4A place where water or oil wells up from an underground source, or the basin or flow formed in such a way: the well is fed by mountain springsMore example sentences
- An underground spring supplied water that fell into the basin from a small opening in the tunnel's side, creating an artificial waterfall.
- The hamlet is home to about 30 people who take their drinking water from a spring high on the moors above the valley - a source used for centuries.
- The only source of water was a spring below a steep bank some thirty yards from the house.
- 4.1 (usually springs) The origin or a source of something: the springs of his own emotionsMore example sentences
- It becomes impossible to see the springs of the play's action in terms of mere idiosyncratic personal grudges or teenage angst.
- The immediate aftermath of the war was marked by a nostalgic return by many artists to the springs of Mediterranean culture.
spring a leak
- (Of a boat or container) develop a leak.[originally in nautical use, referring to timbers springing out of position]More example sentences
- The tanker sprang a leak when it hit a floating cargo container, in either Spanish or Portuguese waters.
- Simultaneously, the hot water tank decided to spring a leak, and water was dripping into the sitting room - the plumbers fixed it yesterday.
- The Prestige, laden with 77,000 tons of oil, sprang a leak in November off the northwest Spanish coast and sank six days later after snapping in half.
spring a trap
- Cause a trap for catching animals to close suddenly.More example sentences
- Silverspot springs a trap by dropping rocks on it.
- Trick someone into doing something: she decided to spring the trap after noticing that her husband was behaving erraticallyMore example sentences
- I believe she is about to spring a trap.
- Halfway through, he sprang a trap on the Muslim leadership.
- He waited until the Nation piece to spring a trap.
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- Chekhov recounts how his horse-driven tarantass, an uncomfortable springless carriage, almost collided with three troikas racing in the opposite direction, drivers asleep at the reins - it was nearly a fatal collision.
- She travelled in a springless baggage cart, a model of which is now proudly displayed in St Thomas' School of Nursing, an establishment she was later to found.
- He had to endure a 27-mile ride in a springless wagon over rough roads to a railhead at Guiney Station.
( • literary )
- More example sentences
- There is a water springlet near the church and also agricultural terraces for cultivation and a reservoir…
- The lane leading to the springlet was planted with hornbeams.
- She allowed to the last two springlets of tears to leave her eyes.
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- It was a bright, almost springlike Saturday afternoon.
- The weather during the holidays was springlike, but presently it has turned sour.
- The capital of Asmara, with a population of 400,000, has some broad, palm-lined boulevards and sunny, springlike weather year-round.
Old English spring (noun), springan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German springen. Early use in the senses 'head of a well' and 'rush out in a stream' gave rise to the figurative use 'originate'.
In British English the standard past tense is sprang ( she sprang forward ), while in US English the past can be either sprang or sprung ( I sprung out of bed ).