Definition of spring in English:

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Pronunciation: /spriNG/

verb (past sprang /spraNG/ or sprung /sprəNG/; past participle sprung)

1 [no object] Move or jump suddenly or rapidly upward or forward: I sprang out of bed figurative they sprang to her defense
More 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.
leap, jump, bound, vault, hop
appear suddenly, appear unexpectedly, materialize, pop up, shoot up, sprout, develop quickly;
proliferate, mushroom
Image of spring
1.1Move rapidly or suddenly from a constrained position by or as if by the action of a spring: the drawer sprang open
More 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: [no object]: the engine sprang into life
More 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.
1.3 [with object] Cause (a game bird) to rise from cover.
1.4 [with object] informal Bring about the escape or release of (a prisoner): the president sought to spring the hostages
More 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 source
More 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.
originate, derive, arise, stem, emanate, proceed, issue, evolve, come
2.1Appear suddenly or unexpectedly from: tears sprang from his eyes
More 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 up
More 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 them
More example sentences
  • 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.’
announce suddenly/unexpectedly, reveal suddenly/unexpectedly, surprise someone with
3 [with object] (usually as adjective sprung) Cushion or fit (a vehicle or item of furniture) with springs: a fully sprung mattress
More 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.
4 [no object] (Especially of wood) become warped or split.
4.1 [with object] (Of a boat) suffer splitting of (a mast or other part).
5 [no object] (spring for) North American informal Pay for, especially as a treat for someone else: he’s never offered to spring for dinner
More 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 pennies more
More 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.


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 rain figurative he was in the spring of his years
More 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.
1.1 Astronomy The period from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice.
1.2 short for spring tide.
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.
2A resilient 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.
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.
2.1The ability to spring back strongly; elasticity: the mattress has lost its spring
More 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.
springiness, bounciness, bounce, resilience, elasticity, flexibility, stretch, stretchiness, give
3 [in singular] A sudden jump upward or forward: with a sudden spring, he leapt onto the table
More 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.
leap, jump, bound, vault, hop;
3.1 informal, dated An escape or release from prison.
4A place where water or oil wells up from an underground source, or the basin or flow formed in such a way: [as modifier]: spring water
More 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.
source, geyser
literary wellspring, fount
Japanese  onsen
4.1The origin or a source of something: the place was a spring of musical talent
More 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.
origin, source, fountainhead, root, roots, basis
informal ground zero
5An upward curvature of a ship’s deck planking from the horizontal.
5.1A split in a wooden plank or spar under strain.



spring a leak

(Of a boat or container) develop a leak.
Originally a phrase in nautical use, referring to timbers springing out of position
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.
Example sentences
  • Silverspot springs a trap by dropping rocks on it.
2.1Trick someone into doing something: she decided to spring the trap after noticing that her husband was behaving erratically
More 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.



Example sentences
  • 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.


Pronunciation: /ˈspriNGˌlīk/
Example sentences
  • 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'.

  • An Old English word that originally referred to the source of a well or stream, the place where a flow of water rises naturally from the earth. People soon started using spring in the context of the first sign or beginning of something—expressions such as ‘the spring of the day’, ‘the spring of the dawn’, and ‘the spring of the year’ were commonly used from around 1380 to 1600. From the middle of the 16th century the last of these expressions became shortened to spring as the name of the first season of the year. Before that this season of new growth had been known as Lent, a word now only used in a religious context to refer to the period of fasting and repentance between Ash Wednesday and Easter, an Old English term of obscure origin. The kind of spring that is a metal coil is also the same word. This meaning was suggested by the verb sense ‘to come out or jump up suddenly’. Someone who is no spring chicken is not as young as they used to be, a phrase recorded from the early years of the 20th century. Spring chickens were birds born in spring and eaten when they were about 10–15 weeks old.

Words that rhyme with spring

Beijing, bing, bring, Chungking, cling, ding, dingaling, fling, I Ching, king, Kunming, ling, Ming, Nanjing, Peking, ping, ring, sing, Singh, sling, sting, string, swing, Synge, thing, ting, wing, wring, Xining, zing

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: spring

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