Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To move upward or forward in a single quick motion or a series of such motions; leap.
  • intransitive v. To move suddenly on or as if on a spring: The door sprang shut. The emergency room team sprang into action.
  • intransitive v. To appear or come into being quickly: New businesses were springing up rapidly. See Synonyms at stem1.
  • intransitive v. To issue or emerge suddenly: A cry sprang from her lips. A thought springs to mind.
  • intransitive v. To extend or curve upward, as an arch.
  • intransitive v. To arise from a source; develop.
  • intransitive v. To become warped, split, or cracked. Used of wood.
  • intransitive v. To move out of place; come loose, as parts of a mechanism.
  • intransitive v. Slang To pay another's expenses: He offered to spring for the dinner.
  • transitive v. To cause to leap, dart, or come forth suddenly.
  • transitive v. To jump over; vault.
  • transitive v. To release from a checked or inoperative position; actuate: spring a trap.
  • transitive v. To cause to warp, split, or crack, as a mast.
  • transitive v. To bend by force.
  • transitive v. To present or disclose unexpectedly or suddenly: "He sprung on the world this novel approach to political journalism” ( Curtis Wilkie).
  • transitive v. Slang To cause to be released from prison or other confinement.
  • n. An elastic device, such as a coil of wire, that regains its original shape after being compressed or extended.
  • n. An actuating force or factor; a motive.
  • n. Elasticity; resilience.
  • n. Energetic bounce: a spring to one's step.
  • n. The act or an instance of jumping or leaping.
  • n. A usually rapid return to normal shape after removal of stress; recoil.
  • n. A small stream of water flowing naturally from the earth.
  • n. A source, origin, or beginning.
  • n. The season of the year, occurring between winter and summer, during which the weather becomes warmer and plants revive, extending in the Northern Hemisphere from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice and popularly considered to comprise March, April, and May.
  • n. A time of growth and renewal.
  • n. A warping, bending, or cracking, as that caused by excessive force.
  • n. Architecture The point at which an arch or vault rises from its support.
  • adj. Of or acting like a spring; resilient.
  • adj. Having or supported by springs: a spring mattress.
  • adj. Of, relating to, occurring in, or appropriate to the season of spring: spring showers; spring planting.
  • adj. Grown during the season of spring: spring crops.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To jump or leap.
  • v. To produce or disclose unexpectedly, especially of surprises, traps, etc.
  • v. To release or set free, especially from prison.
  • n. Traditionally the first of the four seasons of the year in temperate regions, in which plants spring from the ground and trees come into blossom, following winter and preceding summer.
  • n. Meteorologically, the months of March, April and May in the northern hemisphere (or September, October and November in the southern).
  • n. The astronomically delineated period from the moment of vernal equinox, approximately March 21 in the northern hemisphere to the moment of the summer solstice, approximately June 21. (See Spring (season) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia:Spring (season) for other variations.)
  • n. Spring tide; a tide of greater-than-average range, that is, around the first or third quarter of a lunar month, or around the times of the new or full moon.
  • n. A place where water emerges from the ground.
  • n. The property of a body of springing to its original form after being compressed, stretched, etc.
  • n. A mechanical device made of flexible or coiled material that exerts force when it is bent, compressed or stretched.
  • n. A rope attaching the bow of a vessel to the stern-side of the jetty, or vice versa, to stop the vessel from surging.
  • n. An erection of the penis.
  • n. The source of an action

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A leap; a bound; a jump.
  • n. A flying back; the resilience of a body recovering its former state by its elasticity.
  • n. Elastic power or force.
  • n. An elastic body of any kind, as steel, India rubber, tough wood, or compressed air, used for various mechanical purposes, as receiving and imparting power, diminishing concussion, regulating motion, measuring weight or other force.
  • n. Any source of supply; especially, the source from which a stream proceeds; an issue of water from the earth; a natural fountain.
  • n. Any active power; that by which action, or motion, is produced or propagated; cause; origin; motive.
  • n. That which springs, or is originated, from a source
  • n. A race; lineage.
  • n. A youth; a springal.
  • n. A shoot; a plant; a young tree; also, a grove of trees; woodland.
  • n. That which causes one to spring; specifically, a lively tune.
  • n. The season of the year when plants begin to vegetate and grow; the vernal season, usually comprehending the months of March, April, and May, in the middle latitudes north of the equator.
  • n. The time of growth and progress; early portion; first stage.
  • n.
  • n. A crack or fissure in a mast or yard, running obliquely or transversely.
  • n. A line led from a vessel's quarter to her cable so that by tightening or slacking it she can be made to lie in any desired position; a line led diagonally from the bow or stern of a vessel to some point upon the wharf to which she is moored.
  • intransitive v. To leap; to bound; to jump.
  • intransitive v. To issue with speed and violence; to move with activity; to dart; to shoot.
  • intransitive v. To start or rise suddenly, as from a covert.
  • intransitive v. To fly back.
  • intransitive v. To bend from a straight direction or plane surface; to become warped.
  • intransitive v. To shoot up, out, or forth; to come to the light; to begin to appear; to emerge; as a plant from its seed, as streams from their source, and the like; -- often followed by up, forth, or out.
  • intransitive v. To issue or proceed, as from a parent or ancestor; to result, as from a cause, motive, reason, or principle.
  • intransitive v. To grow; to thrive; to prosper.
  • transitive v. To cause to spring up; to start or rouse, as game; to cause to rise from the earth, or from a covert.
  • transitive v. To produce or disclose suddenly or unexpectedly.
  • transitive v. To cause to explode.
  • transitive v. To crack or split; to bend or strain so as to weaken.
  • transitive v. To cause to close suddenly, as the parts of a trap operated by a spring.
  • transitive v. To bend by force, as something stiff or strong; to force or put by bending, as a beam into its sockets, and allowing it to straighten when in place; -- often with in, out, etc..
  • transitive v. To pass over by leaping.
  • transitive v. To release (a person) from confinement, especially from a prison.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To leap up; jump.
  • To move with leaps; bound along; rush.
  • Specifically To start up; rise suddenly, as a bird from a covert.
  • To be impelled with speed or violence; shoot; fly; dart.
  • To start, recoil, fly back, etc., as from a forced position; escape from constraint; give; relax; especially, to yield to natural elasticity or to the force of a spring. See spring, n., 9.
  • To be shivered or shattered; split; crack.
  • To come into being; begin to grow; shoot up; come up; arise; specifically, of the day, to dawn: said of any kind of genesis or beginning, and often followed by up.
  • To take one's birth, rise, or origin (from or out of any one or any thing); be derived; proceed, as from a specified source, stock, or set of conditions.
  • To come into view or notice; be spread by popular report; gain fame or prevalence.
  • To rise above a given level; have a relatively great elevation; tower.
  • To warp, or become warped; bend or wind from a straight line or plane surface, as a piece of timber or plank in seasoning.
  • To bend to the oars and make the boat leap or spring forward, as in an emergency: often in the form of an order: as, “Spring ahead hard, men!”
  • Synonyms Leap, Jump, etc. See skip, intransitive verb
  • To cause to leap or dart; urge or launch at full speed.
  • To start or rouse, as game; cause to rise from the earth or from a covert; flush: as, to spring a pheasant.
  • To bring out hastily or unexpectedly; produce suddenly; bring, show, contrive, etc., with unexpected promptness, or as a surprise.
  • To jump over; overleap.
  • To cause to spring up or arise; bring forth; generate.
  • To scatter as in sowing; strew about; shed here and there; sprinkle (a liquid).
  • To sprinkle, as with line drops, particles, or spots; especially, to moisten with drops of a liquid: as, to spring clothes.
  • To shiver; split; crack; as, to spring a bat; the mast was sprung.
  • To cause to burst or explode; discharge.
  • To shift out of place; relax; loosen.
  • Specifically To relax the spring of; cause to act suddenly by means of a spring; touch off, as by a trigger: as, to spring a trap: to spring a rattle; also figuratively: as, to spring a plot or a joke.
  • To insert, as a beam in a place too short for it, by bending it so as to bring the ends nearer together, and allowing it to straighten when in place: usually with in: as, to spring in a slat or bar.
  • In architecture, to commence from an abutment or pier: as, to spring an arch.
  • Nautical, to haul by means of springs or cables: as, to spring the stern of a vessel around.
  • In carpentry, to unite (the boards of a roof) with bevel-joints in order to keep out wet.
  • n. The act of springing or leaping
  • n. A flying back; the resilience of a body recovering its former state by its elasticity.
  • n. The act or time of springing or appearing; the first appearance; the beginning; birth; rise; origin: as, the spring of mankind; the spring of the year; the spring of the morning or of the day (see dayspring).
  • n. Specifically The first of the four seasons of the year; the season in which plants begin to vegetate and rise; the vernal season (see season); hence, figuratively, the first and freshest period of any time or condition.
  • n. That which springs or shoots up.
  • n. A young wood; any piece of woodland; a grove; a shrubbery.
  • n. A rod; a switch.
  • n. A youth; a springal.
  • n. Offspring; race.
  • n. Water rising to the surface of the earth from below, and either flowing away in the form of a small stream or standing as a pool or small lake. , , , , ,
  • n. Figuratively, any fount or source of supply.
  • n. An elastic body, as a strip or wire of steel coiled spirally, a steel rod or plate, strips of steel suitably joined together, a mass or strip of india-rubber, etc., which, when bent or forced from its natural state, has the power of recovering it again in virtue of its elasticity.
  • n. In entomology, a special elastic organ by which an insect is enabled to spring into the air.
  • n. Any active or motive power, physical or mental; that by which action is produced or propagated; motive.
  • n. Capacity for springing; elastic power; elasticity, either physical or mental.
  • n. Nautical: The start, as of a plank; an opening in a seam; a leak.
  • n. A crack in a mast or yard, running obliquely or transversely.
  • n. A line made fast to the bow or quarter of a ship, in order to pull the head or stern in any required direction.
  • n. A rope extending from some part of a ship to another ship, or to a fixed object, to cant or move the ship by being hauled upon.
  • n. A quick and cheerful tune; a skip.
  • n. In falconry, a collection of teal.
  • n. Synonyms Fountain, etc. See well.
  • Pertaining to, suitable for, or occurring or used in the spring of the year: as, spring fashions; spring wheat.
  • To fit with springs, as a carriage or a motor-vehicle.
  • n. In golf, the movement of a ball lying in a small cup or hollow when struck with a straight-faced club.
  • n. A helical spring made by coiling a cylindrical or round steel rod around a mandrel.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. spring back; spring away from an impact
  • v. produce or disclose suddenly or unexpectedly
  • n. a natural flow of ground water
  • v. develop suddenly
  • n. a point at which water issues forth
  • n. a metal elastic device that returns to its shape or position when pushed or pulled or pressed
  • n. the elasticity of something that can be stretched and returns to its original length
  • n. the season of growth
  • v. move forward by leaps and bounds
  • v. develop into a distinctive entity
  • n. a light, self-propelled movement upwards or forwards

Etymologies

Middle English springen, from Old English springan. N., Middle English springe, from Old English spring, wellspring.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English springen, from Old English springan, from Proto-Germanic *springanan (compare West Frisian springe, Dutch/German springen, Swedish springa), from Proto-Indo-European *spr̥g̑h (compare Lithuanian spreñgti ‘to push in’, Old Church Slavonic pręgti ‘to spin, stretch’, Ancient Greek spérchesthai ‘to hasten’, Sanskrit spṛhayati ‘is eager’). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This ligament contains a considerable amount of elastic fibers, so as to give elasticity to the arch and spring to the foot; hence it is sometimes called the “spring” ligament.

    III. Syndesmology. 7e. Intertarsal Articulations

  • _sleeve_ or _thimble_ and it usually forms one of the main terminals of the jack; the spring, forming the other principal terminal, is called the _tip spring_, since it engages the tip of the plug.

    Cyclopedia of Telephony & Telegraphy Vol. 1 A General Reference Work on Telephony, etc. etc.

  • But sparrows splashed in the pools of sunshine; in a lull the darky's voice came again, chanting passionately, "In de spring, spring, _spring_!" and Carl clamored: "I've _got_ to get out to-day.

    The Trail of the Hawk A Comedy of the Seriousness of Life

  • I dumped the term spring cleaning from my personal lexicon many years ago.

    Brooms, Swiffers and Descartes

  • "We are hopeful B.J. will be able to go through spring with it being his non-throwing shoulder and be able to participate in spring from a mental standpoint," coach Skip Holtz said.

    South Florida - Team Notes

  • Nor does the term spring to mind when some scary wackadoo runs amok at a university and starts shooting everything that moves.

    That Pesky Constitution

  • Perhaps the most common way to fish a plastic frog in spring is with a slow stop-and-go retrieve along the outside edges of shoreline cover.

    Tossing Frogs

  • Define the term spring and give an example of a spring in the area.

    Chapter 11

  • And I am here to tell you that a great many of the ills that have overtaken Britain spring from the Socialist regime - the lack of incentive, the feeling that the Government is going to do everything for everybody, at somebody's expense.

    So It's Dulles Ditchwater

  • A bee among the flowers in spring is one of the cheerfullest things that can be looked upon.

    Rural Hours

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.
    Pablo Neruda

    January 15, 2012

  • Here in Paris, the French media use the phrase "le printemps arabe" constantly.

    April 22, 2011

  • A BBC program recently referred to the Arab Spring several times. Perhaps the analogy is with the Prague Spring. I don't feel that any of the definitions - and there are many - quite encompass the nuances of this political meaning. AHD 26 has the rudiments. CD 31 is in the vicinity though not quite there.

    April 22, 2011


  • There are so many positions of love;
    each curve on a
    branch,
    the thousand ways your eyes can hold us,
    the infinite shapes each mind
    can draw,
    the spring orchestra of scents and sounds...

    - Hafiz, 'Love Poems From God', translation by Daniel Ladinsky.

    October 12, 2008

  • I (dis)like the variety of meanings this words has.

    June 9, 2008

  • spring sprang in the scene,
    hardly caring which play, said:
    "GET OUTTA MY WAY!"

    April 21, 2007