[ spring ]
See synonyms for: springsprangspringingsprings on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object),sprang or, often, sprung; sprung; spring·ing.
  1. to rise, leap, move, or act suddenly and swiftly, as by a sudden dart or thrust forward or outward, or being suddenly released from a coiled or constrained position: to spring into the air; a tiger about to spring.

  2. to be released from a constrained position, as by resilient or elastic force or from the action of a spring: A trap springs. The door sprang open and in he walked.

  1. to issue forth suddenly, as water, blood, sparks, fire, etc. (often followed by forth, out, or up): Blood sprang from the wound.

  2. to come into being, rise, or arise within a short time (usually followed by up): Industries sprang up in the suburbs.

  3. to come into being by growth, as from a seed or germ, bulb, root, etc.; grow, as plants.

  4. to proceed or originate from a specific source or cause.

  5. to have as one's birth or lineage; be descended, as from a person, family, stock, etc.; come from: to spring from ancient aristocracy.

  6. to rise or extend upward, as a spire.

  7. to take an upward course or curve from a point of support, as an arch.

  8. to come or appear suddenly, as if at a bound: An objection sprang to mind.

  9. to start or rise from cover, as a pheasant, woodcock, or the like.

  10. to become bent or warped, as boards.

  11. to shift or work loose, as parts of a mechanism, structure, etc.: The board sprang from the fence during the storm.

  12. to explode, as a mine.

  13. Archaic. to begin to appear, as day, light, etc.; dawn.

verb (used with object),sprang or, often, sprung; sprung; spring·ing.
  1. to cause to spring.

  2. to cause to fly back, move, or act, as by resiliency, elastic force, a spring, etc.: to spring a lock.

  1. to cause to shift out of place, work loose, warp, split, or crack: Moisture sprang the board from the fence.

  2. to split or crack: The ship sprang its keel on a rock.

  3. to develop by or as by splitting or cracking: The boat sprang a leak.

  4. to bend by force, or force in by bending, as a resilient slat or bar.

  5. to stretch or bend (a spring or other resilient device) beyond its elastic tolerance: This clip has been sprung.

  6. to bring out, disclose, produce, make, etc., suddenly: to spring a joke.

  7. to leap over.

  8. Slang. to secure the release of (someone) from confinement, as of jail, military service, or the like.

  9. Nautical. to move (a vessel) into or out of a berth by pulling on the offshore end of a warp made fast to the pier.

  10. to explode (a mine).

  1. a leap, jump, or bound.

  2. a sudden movement caused by the release of something elastic.

  1. an elastic or bouncing quality: There is a spring in his walk.

  2. elasticity or resilience: This board has spring in it.

  3. a structural defect or injury caused by a warp, crack, etc.

  4. an issue of water from the earth, taking the form, on the surface, of a small stream or standing as a pool or small lake.

  5. the place of such an issue: mineral springs.

  6. a source or fountainhead of something: a spring of inspiration.

  7. an elastic contrivance or body, as a strip or wire of steel coiled spirally, that recovers its shape after being compressed, bent, or stretched.

  8. the season between winter and summer: in the Northern Hemisphere from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice; in the Southern Hemisphere from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice.

  9. (in temperate zones) the season of the year following winter and characterized by the budding of trees, growth of plants, the onset of warmer weather, etc.

  10. the first stage and freshest period: the spring of life.

  11. sometimes initial capital letter. a period of growth, recovery, or regeneration (usually used in combination): signs of an economic spring.

  12. usually initial capital letter.

    • a popular movement calling for liberal reforms and opposing authoritarian restrictions on freedom and information access (usually used in combination): the brief Seoul Spring of 1979–80; the Academic Spring’s goal of free access to published research.: See also Prague Spring, Arab Spring.

    • a period of liberalization or democratization.

  13. Nautical.

    • a line from the quarter of a vessel to an anchor on the bottom, used to hold the vessel at its mooring, broadside to the current.

  14. Also called springing. Architecture.

    • the point at which an arch or dome rises from its support.

    • the rise or the angle of the rise of an arch.

  15. Archaic. the dawn, as of day, light, etc.

  1. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or suitable for the season of spring: spring flowers.

  2. resting on or containing mechanical springs.

Verb Phrases
  1. spring for, Informal. to pay for; treat someone to.

Origin of spring

First recorded before 900; (for the verb) Middle English springen, Old English springan; cognate with Dutch, German springen, Old Norse springa; (for the noun) Middle English spring(e), Old English spring, spryng “issue of a stream”; compare Middle Low German, Old High German, Danish, Swedish spring

Other words for spring

Other words from spring

  • springlike, adjective
  • outspring, verb (used with object), out·sprang or, often, out·sprung; out·sprung; out·spring·ing.
  • re·spring, verb, re·sprang or, often, re·sprung, re·spring·ing.
  • un·der·spring, noun
  • un·der·spring, verb (used without object), un·der·sprang or un·der·sprung, un·der·sprung, un·der·spring·ing.

Words Nearby spring

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use spring in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for spring


/ (sprɪŋ) /

verbsprings, springing, sprang, sprung or sprung
  1. to move or cause to move suddenly upwards or forwards in a single motion

  2. to release or be released from a forced position by elastic force: the bolt sprang back

  1. (tr) to leap or jump over

  2. (intr) to come, issue, or arise suddenly

  3. (intr) (of a part of a mechanism, etc) to jump out of place

  4. to make (wood, etc) warped or split or (of wood, etc) to become warped or split

  5. to happen or cause to happen unexpectedly: to spring a surprise; the boat sprung a leak

  6. (intr) to develop or originate: the idea sprang from a chance meeting

  7. (intr usually foll by from) to be descended: he sprang from peasant stock

  8. (intr often foll by up) to come into being or appear suddenly: factories springing up

  9. (tr) (of a gun dog) to rouse (game) from cover

  10. (intr) (of game or quarry) to start or rise suddenly from cover

  11. (intr) to appear to have a strong upward movement: the beam springs away from the pillar

  12. to explode (a mine) or (of a mine) to explode

  13. (tr) to provide with a spring or springs

  14. (tr) informal to arrange the escape of (someone) from prison

  15. (intr) archaic, or poetic (of daylight or dawn) to begin to appear

  1. the act or an instance of springing

  2. a leap, jump, or bound

    • the quality of resilience; elasticity

    • (as modifier): spring steel

  1. the act or an instance of moving rapidly back from a position of tension

    • a natural outflow of ground water, as forming the source of a stream

    • (as modifier): spring water

    • a device, such as a coil or strip of steel, that stores potential energy when it is compressed, stretched, or bent and releases it when the restraining force is removed

    • (as modifier): a spring mattress

  2. a structural defect such as a warp or bend

    • (sometimes capital) the season of the year between winter and summer, astronomically from the March equinox to the June solstice in the N hemisphere and from the September equinox to the December solstice in the S hemisphere

    • (as modifier): spring showers Related adjective: vernal

  3. the earliest or freshest time of something

  4. a source or origin

  5. one of a set of strips of rubber, steel, etc, running down the inside of the handle of a cricket bat, hockey stick, etc

  6. Also called: spring line nautical a mooring line, usually one of a pair that cross amidships

  7. a flock of teal

  8. architect another name for springing

Origin of spring

Old English springan; related to Old Norse springa, Old High German springan, Sanskrit sprhayati he desires, Old Slavonic pragu grasshopper

Derived forms of spring

  • springless, adjective
  • springlike, adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for spring


[ sprĭng ]

  1. A device, such as a coil of wire, that returns to its original shape after being compressed or stretched. Because of their ability to return to their original shape, springs are used to store energy, as in mechanical clocks, and to absorb or lessen energy, as in the suspension system of vehicles.

  2. A small stream of water flowing naturally from the Earth.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.