spring |spri ng |

verb ( past sprang |spra ng |or sprung |sprə ng |; past part. sprung)

1 [ intrans. ] move or jump suddenly or rapidly upward or forward : I sprang out of bed

spring 2

: figurative they sprang to her defense.

• [ intrans. ] move rapidly or suddenly from a constrained position by or as if by the action of a spring : the drawer sprang open.
• operate or cause to operate by means of a mechanism : [ trans. ] he prepared to spring his trap | [ intrans. ] the engine sprang into life.
• [ trans. ] cause (a game bird) to rise from cover.• [ trans. ] informal bring about the escape or release of (a prisoner) : the president sought to spring the hostages.

2 [ intrans. ] ( spring from) originate or arise from : madness and creativity could spring from the same source.

• appear suddenly or unexpectedly from : tears sprang from his eyes.
• ( spring up) suddenly develop or appear : a terrible storm sprang up.
• [ trans. ] ( spring something on) present or propose something suddenly or unexpectedly to (someone) : we decided to spring a surprise on them.

3 [ trans. ] [usu. as adj. ] ( sprung) cushion or fit (a vehicle or item of furniture) with springs : a fully sprung mattress.

4 [ intrans. ] (esp. of wood) become warped or split.
• [ trans. ] (of a boat) suffer splitting of (a mast or other part).

5 [ intrans. ] ( spring for) informal pay for, esp. as a treat for someone else : he’s never offered to spring for dinner.
• [ trans. ] archaic spend (money) : he might spring a few pennies more.


1 the 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 adj. ] spring rain | figurative he was in the spring of his years.
• Astronomy the period from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice.
• short for spring tide .

2 a 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.
• the ability to spring back strongly; elasticity : the mattress has lost its spring.

3 [in sing. ] a sudden jump upward or forward : with a sudden spring, he leapt onto the table.
• informal dated an escape or release from prison.

4 a place where water or oil wells up from an underground source, or the basin or flow formed in such a way : [as adj. ] spring water.
• figurative the origin or a source of something : the place was a spring of musical talent.

5 an upward curvature of a ship’s deck planking from the horizontal.
• a split in a wooden plank or spar under strain.


spring a leak (of a boat or container) develop a leak. [ORIGIN: originally a phrase in nautical use, referring to timbers springing out of position.]


springless |ˈsprɪŋl1s| adjective
springlike |-ˌlīk| |ˈsprɪŋˈlaɪk| adjective

ORIGIN 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.]

USAGE The past tense of spring is sprang, although occasionally one hears, and even reads, sprung. The past participle is sprung:: “Not only might the hose spring a leak,” said Crawford, “but it sprang two yesterday and has sprung yet again!”

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