see also: Spring
Pronunciation Verb

spring (springs, present participle springing; past sprang, past participle sprung)

  1. (intransitive) To burst forth, particularly
    1. (of liquids) To gush, to flow suddenly and violently.
      • Beowulf, ll. 2966–7:
        ...for swenge swat ædrum sprong
        forð under fexe.
        ...for the swing, the blood from his veins sprang
        forth under his hair.
      • c. 1540, John Bellenden translating Livy as History of Rome, Vol. I, i, xxii, p. 125:
        ...þe wound þat was springand with huge stremes of blude...
      The boat sprang a leak and began to sink.
    2. (of water, now rare without "out" or "up") To gush, to flow out of the ground.
    3. (of light) To appear, to dawn.
      • 1611, Bible (KJV), Judges, 19:25:
        ...so the man tooke his concubine, and brought her foorth vnto them, and they knew her, and abused her all the night vntil the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her goe.
    4. (of plants) To sprout, to grow, (figurative) to arise, to come into existence.
      • 1611, Bible (KJV), Job, 38:25–27: ↗
        Who hath diuided a water-course for the ouerflowing of waters? or a way for the lightning of thunder,
        To cause it to raine on the earth, where no man is: on the wildernesse wherein there is no man?
        To satisfie the desolate and waste ground, and to cause the bud of the tender herbe to spring forth.
      • 1813, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab, v:
        Commerce! beneath whose poison-breathing shade
        No solitary virtue dares to spring.
      • 1936, Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, p. 42:
        Dr. Sigmund Freud... says that everything you and I do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great.
      • 1974, James Albert Michener, Centennial, p. 338:
        There was moisture in the ground, and from it sprang a million flowers, gold and blue and brown and red.
      • 2006, N. Roberts, Morrigann's Cross, vi:
        Foxglove sprang tall and purple among the trees.
      During the rainy season, grass springs amid the sand and flowers blossom across the desert.
      Hope springs eternal.
      He hit the gas and the car sprang to life.
      Synonyms: arise, form, take shape
    5. (of fire) To fly up or out.
    6. (of animals & figurative, now usually with adverbs of direction) To move with great speed and energy: to leap, to jump; to dart, to sprint; (of people) to rise rapidly from a seat, bed, etc.
      • c. 1250, Life of St Margaret, Trin. Col. MS B.14.39 (323), f. 22v: ↗
        ...into helle spring...
      • 1474, William Caxton translator, Game and Playe of the Chesse, iii, vii, 141:
        Ye kynge... sprange out of his chare and resseyuyd them worshipfully.
      • 1722, Ambrose Philips, The Briton:
        ...the Mountain Stag, that springs
        From Height to Height, and bounds along the Plains,
        Nor has a Master to restrain his Course...
      • 1827, Clement Clarke Moore, "(A Visit from St. Nicholas)":
        ...out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
        I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
      • 2011 April 11, The Atlantic:
        Reporters sprang to the conclusion that the speech would make detailed new commitments...
      Deer spring with their hind legs, using their front hooves to steady themselves.
      He sprang to his feet.
      A bow, when bent, springs back by its elastic power.
      Don't worry. She'll spring back to her cheerful old self in no time.
      It was the first thing that sprang to mind.
      She sprang to her husband's defense and clocked the protestor.
      Synonyms: bound, jump, leap
    7. (hunting, especially, of birds) To rise from cover.
      • 1682, Thomas Otway, Venice Preserv’d, or, A Plot Discover’d. A Tragedy. […], London: Printed for Jos[eph] Hindmarsh […], OCLC 664400715 ↗, Act I, scene i, pages 3–4 ↗:
        Home I would go, / But that my doors#English|Dores are hatefull to my eyes. / Fill'd and damm'd up with gaping Creditors, / Watchful as fowler#English|Fowlers when their Game will spring; {{...}
    8. (of knowledge, usually with "wide", obsolete) To become known, to spread.
    9. (of odors, obsolete) To emit, to spread.
    10. (of landscape) To come dramatically into view.
    11. (obsolete) To rise in social position or military rank, to be promoted.
    12. (usually with "from") To be born, descend, or originate from; (figurative, religion, philosophy, etc.) to descend or originate from.
      He sprang from peasant stock.
      The Stoics sprang from the Cynics.
    13. (now chiefly botanical) To grow taller or longer.
  2. (transitive, of beards, archaic) To grow.
  3. (transitive) To cause to burst forth, particularly
    1. (of water, rare) To cause to well up or flow out of the ground.
    2. (of plants & figurative, now rare) To bring forth or (obsolete) permit to bring forth new shoots, leaves, etc.
    3. (of knowledge, obsolete) To cause to become known, to tell of.
    4. (of animals & figurative) To cause to move energetically; (equestrianism) to cause to gallop, to spur.
      • 1986 April 25, Horse & Hound, p. 40:
        Just before the last pair of cones he sprung his ponies.
      • 2003 July 10, Daily Telegraph, p. 7:
        Simple tricks such as an ‘ollie’—springing the board into mid-air—can be picked up in just a couple of weeks.
    5. (hunting, esp. of birds) To cause to rise from cover.
      His dogs sprang the grouse and partridges and flushed the woodcock.
    6. (military, of weapons, obsolete) To shift quickly from one designated position to another.
      • 1833, Regulations for the Instruction... of the Cavalry, i, i, 29:
        Each man springs his ramrod as the officer passes him, and then returns it.
    7. (of horses, rare, obsolete) To breed with, to impregnate.
      • 1585, Thomas Washington translating Nicolas De Nicolay as The Navigations, Peregrinations, and Voyages, Made into Turkie..., Bk. IV, p. 154:
        ...[they] sought the fairest stoned horses to spring their mares...
    8. (of mechanisms) To cause to work or open by sudden application of pressure.
      He sprang the trap.
      • 1747, The London Magazine, Or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer
        On the 23d, the Besiegers sprung a Mine under the Salient Angle, upon the Right of the Haif Moon, which had the desired Success, the Enemy's Gallery on that Side, and the Mason-Work of the Counterscarp, being thereby demolished.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To make wet, to moisten.
  5. (intransitive, usually with "to" or "up") To rise suddenly, (of tears) to well up.
    The documentary made tears spring to their eyes.
  6. (intransitive, now usually with "apart" or "open") To burst into pieces, to explode, to shatter; (military, obsolete) to go off.
    • 1698, François Froger, A Relation of a Voyage Made... on the Coasts of Africa, p. 30:
      On the 22nd the mines sprang, and took very good effect.
    • 2012 April 21, Sydney Morning Herald, p. 5:
      The whole contraption appears liable to spring apart at any moment.
  7. (transitive, military) To cause to explode, to set off, to detonate.
    • 1625, Samuel Purchas, Purchas His Pilgrimes, Vol. II, x, ix:
      They sprung another Mine... wherein was placed about sixtie Barrels of Powder.
  8. (intransitive, nautical, usually perfective) To crack.
    • 2011, Julian Stockwin, Conquest, p. 177:
      Probably the mast had sprung in some squall.
  9. (transitive, nautical) To have something crack.
    • 1582 August 2, Richard Madox, diary:
      The Edward sprang hir foremast.
  10. (transitive, nautical) To cause to crack.
    • a. 1653, Zacharie Boyd, "Zion's Flowers":
      A boisterous wind...
      Springs the... mast...
  11. (transitive, originally figurative) To surprise by sudden or deft action, particularly
    1. To come upon and flush out; (Australia slang) to catch in an illegal act or compromising position.
      • 1819, James Hardy Vaux, "A New and Comprehensive Vocabulary of the Flash Language", Memoirs, Vol. II, s.v. "Plant":
        To spring a plant, is to find any thing that has been concealed by another.
      • 1980, John Hepworth & al., Boozing Out in Melbourne Pubs..., p. 42:
        He figured that nobody would ever spring him, but he figured wrong.
    2. (obsolete) To begin something.
    3. (obsolete) To produce, provide, or (rare) place an item unexpectedly.
      • 1700, John Dryden translating Ovid as "Cinyras and Myrrha" in Fables, p. 178:
        Surpriz'd with Fright,
        She starts, and leaves her Bed, and springs a Light.
      • 1851, Henry Mayhew, London Labour and London Poor, Vol. I, p. 53:
        It's a feast at a poor country labourer's place, when he springs six-penn'orth of fresh herrings.
    4. (rare, obsolete, slang) To put bad money into circulation.
    5. (of jokes, gags, etc., obsolete) To tell, to share.
    6. (of news, surprises, etc.) To announce unexpectedly, to reveal.
      Sorry to spring it on you like this but I've been offered another job.
    7. (transitive, slang, originally US) To free from imprisonment, especially by facilitating an illegal escape.
      His lieutenants hired a team of miners to help spring him.
      Synonyms: free, let out, release, spring loose
    8. (intransitive, slang, now rare) To be free of imprisonment, especially by illegal escape.
  12. (transitive, architecture, of arches) To build, (especially) to form the initial curve of.
    They sprung an arch over the lintel.
  13. (intransitive, architecture, of arches, with "from") To extend, to curve.
    The arches spring from the front posts.
  14. (transitive, nautical) To turn a vessel using a spring attached to its anchor cable.
  15. (transitive, nautical, obsolete) To raise a vessel's sheer.
  16. (transitive, cobblery, rare, obsolete) To raise a last's toe.
  17. (transitive) To pay or spend a certain sum, to cough up.
    • 1957, Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, Over Seventy, p. 137:
      He wouldn't spring a nickel for a bag of peanuts.
  18. (intransitive, rare, obsolete, slang) To raise an offered price.
  19. (transitive, US dialect) Alternative form of sprain#English|sprain.
  20. (transitive, US dialect) Alternative form of strain#English|strain.
  21. (intransitive, rare, obsolete) To act as a spring: to strongly rebound.
  22. (transitive, rare) To equip with springs, especially (of vehicles) to equip with a suspension.
  23. (transitive, rare, obsolete) To provide spring or elasticity; (figurative, rare, obsolete) to inspire, to motivate.
  24. (transitive) To deform owing to excessive pressure, to become warped; (now) to intentionally deform in order to position and then straighten in place.
    • 1873 July, Routledge's Young Gentleman's Magazine, p. 503:
      Don't drive it in too hard, as it will ‘spring’ the plane-iron, and make it concave.
    A piece of timber sometimes springs in seasoning.
    He sprang in the slat.
  25. (intransitive, now rare) To reach maturity, to be fully grown.
  26. (intransitive, UK dialect, chiefly of cows) To swell with milk or pregnancy.
  27. (transitive, of rattles, archaic) To sound, to play.
  28. (intransitive, obsolete) To spend the springtime somewhere, especially (of animals) to find or get enough food during springtime.
Synonyms Noun


  1. (countable) An act of springing: a leap, a jump.
  2. (countable) The season of the year in temperate regions in which plants spring from the ground and into bloom and dormant animals spring to life, variously reckoned as
    Spring is the time of the year most species reproduce.
    You can visit me in the spring, when the weather is bearable.
    Synonyms: springtime
    Coordinate terms: summer#English|summer, autumn#English|autumn or fall#English|fall, winter#English|winter
    1. (astronomy) The period from the moment of vernal equinox (around March 21 in the Northern Hemisphere) to the moment of the summer solstice (around June 21); the equivalent periods reckoned in other cultures and calendars.
      Chinese New Year always occurs in January or February but is called the "Spring Festival" throughout East Asia because it is reckoned as the beginning of their spring.
    2. (meteorology) The three months of March, April, and May in the Northern Hemisphere and September, October, and November in the Southern Hemisphere.
      I spent my spring holidays in Morocco.
      The spring issue will be out next week.
  3. (uncountable, figurative) The time of something's growth; the early stages of some process.
    • 1611, Bible (KJV), 1 Samuel 9:26: ↗
      ...and it came to passe about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house...
    • c. 1590–1591, William Shakespeare, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act 1, scene 3]:
      O how this spring of love resembleth
      The uncertain glory of an April day.
  4. (countable, fashion) Someone with ivory or peach skin tone and eyes and hair that are not extremely dark, seen as best suited to certain colors of clothing.
  5. (countable) Something which springs, springs forth, springs up, or springs back, particularly
    1. (geology) A spray or body of water springing from the ground.
      This beer was brewed with pure spring water.
      Synonyms: fount, source
    2. (oceanography, obsolete) The rising of the sea at high tide.
    3. (oceanography) Short for spring tide#English|spring tide, the especially high tide shortly after full and new moons.
      Antonyms: neap tide
    4. A mechanical device made of flexible or coiled material that exerts force and attempts to spring back when bent, compressed, or stretched.
      We jumped so hard the bed springs broke.
      Synonyms: coil
    5. (nautical) A line from a vessel's end or side to its anchor cable used to diminish or control its movement.
      • 1836, Frederick Marryat, Mr. Midshipman Easy, Vol. III, p. 72:
        He had warped round with the springs on his cable, and had recommenced his fire upon the Aurora.
    6. (nautical) A line laid out from a vessel's end to the opposite end of an adjacent vessel or mooring to diminish or control its movement.
      You should put a couple of springs onto the jetty to stop the boat moving so much.
      • 1769, William Falconer, An Universal Dictionary of the Marine, s.v.:
        Spring is likewise a rope reaching diagonally from the stern of a ship to the head of another which lies along-side or a-breast of her.
      • 2007 January 26, Business Times:
        Springs’ are the ropes used on a ship that is alongside a berth to prevent fore and aft movements.
    7. (figurative) A race, a lineage.
    8. (figurative) A youth.
    9. A shoot, a young tree.
    10. A grove of trees; a forest.
  6. (countable, slang) An erection of the penis.
  7. (countable, nautical, obsolete) A crack which has sprung up in a mast, spar, or (rare) a plank or seam.
    • 1846, Arthur Young, Nautical Dictionary, p. 292:
      A spar is said to be sprung, when it is cracked or split,... and the crack is called a spring.
  8. (uncountable) Springiness: an attribute or quality of springing, springing up, or springing back, particularly
    1. Elasticity: the property of a body springing back to its original form after compression, stretching, etc.
      the spring of a bow
      Synonyms: bounce, bounciness, elasticity, resilience, springiness
    2. Elastic energy, power, or force.
      • 1697, John Dryden, Virgil's Aeneis, [https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A65112.0001.001/1:20.11?rgn=div2;view=fulltext Bk. xi, ll. 437–8:]
        Heav'ns what a spring was in his Arm, to throw:
        How high he held his Shield, and rose at ev'ry blow!
  9. (countable) The source from which an action or supply of something springs.
    • 1611, Bible (KJV), Psalms 87:7: ↗
      As wel the singers as the players on instruments shall bee there: all my springs are in thee.
    • 1693, Richard Bentley, The Folly and Unreasonableness of Atheism..., Sermon 1:
      Such a man can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth him, he can patiently suffer all things with cheerfull submission and resignation to the Divine Will. He has a secret Spring of spiritual Joy, and the continual Feast of a good Conscience within, that forbid him to be miserable.
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, p. 1:
      ‘Have you ever contemplated, Adrian, the phenomenon of springs?’
      ‘Coils, you mean?’
      ‘Not coils, Adrian, no. Coils not. Think springs of water. Think wells and spas and sources. Well-springs in the widest and loveliest sense. Jerusalem, for instance, is a spring of religiosity. One small town in the desert, but the source of the world’s three most powerful faiths... Religion seems to bubble from its sands.’
    Synonyms: impetus, impulse
  10. (countable) Something which causes others or another to spring forth or spring into action, particularly
    1. A cause, a motive, etc.
    2. (obsolete) A lively piece of music.
Synonyms Translations Translations
  • Russian: весна́
  • Russian: весна́
Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: шпринг
  • Spanish: esprín
Proper noun
  1. Surname
  2. Spring, the season of warmth and new vegetation following winter

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