Origin of spring

before 900; (v.) Middle English springen, Old English springan; cognate with Dutch, German springen, Old Norse springa; (noun) Middle English spring(e), Old English spring, spryng issue of a stream; compare Middle Low German, Old High German, Danish, Swedish spring
Related formsspring·like, adjectiveout·spring, 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, nounun·der·spring, verb (used without object), un·der·sprang or un·der·sprung, un·der·sprung, un·der·spring·ing.

Synonyms for spring

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spring

Contemporary Examples of spring

Historical Examples of spring

  • There was another debate over Spring, who had followed his master as usual.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • "The spring has gotten a strangle-hold on my judgment," he said to himself.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • And still more of this belated spring will gladden the eye in the florist's window.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • It must not be supposed that this spring day in the spring places had reformed his manner of delivery.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • But spring is not all of life, nor what at once chiefly concerns us.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for spring


verb springs, springing, sprang, sprung or sprung

to move or cause to move suddenly upwards or forwards in a single motion
to release or be released from a forced position by elastic forcethe bolt sprang back
(tr) to leap or jump over
(intr) to come, issue, or arise suddenly
(intr) (of a part of a mechanism, etc) to jump out of place
to make (wood, etc) warped or split or (of wood, etc) to become warped or split
to happen or cause to happen unexpectedlyto spring a surprise; the boat sprung a leak
(intr) to develop or originatethe idea sprang from a chance meeting
(intr usually foll by from) to be descendedhe sprang from peasant stock
(intr often foll by up) to come into being or appear suddenlyfactories springing up
(tr) (of a gun dog) to rouse (game) from cover
(intr) (of game or quarry) to start or rise suddenly from cover
(intr) to appear to have a strong upward movementthe beam springs away from the pillar
to explode (a mine) or (of a mine) to explode
(tr) to provide with a spring or springs
(tr) informal to arrange the escape of (someone) from prison
(intr) archaic, or poetic (of daylight or dawn) to begin to appear


the act or an instance of springing
a leap, jump, or bound
  1. the quality of resilience; elasticity
  2. (as modifier)spring steel
the act or an instance of moving rapidly back from a position of tension
  1. a natural outflow of ground water, as forming the source of a stream
  2. (as modifier)spring water
  1. 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
  2. (as modifier)a spring mattress
a structural defect such as a warp or bend
  1. (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
  2. (as modifier)spring showers Related adjective: vernal
the earliest or freshest time of something
a source or origin
one of a set of strips of rubber, steel, etc, running down the inside of the handle of a cricket bat, hockey stick, etc
Also called: spring line nautical a mooring line, usually one of a pair that cross amidships
a flock of teal
architect another name for springing
Derived Formsspringless, adjectivespringlike, adjective

Word Origin for spring

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

Word Origin and History for spring

Old English springan "to leap, burst forth, fly up" (class III strong verb; past tense sprang, past participle sprungen), from Proto-Germanic *sprenganan (cf. Old Norse, Old Frisian springa, Middle Dutch springhen, Old High German springan, German springen), from PIE *sprengh- "rapid movement" (cf. Sanskrit sprhayati "desires eagerly," Greek sperkhesthai "to hurry").

In Middle English, it took on the role of causal sprenge, from Old English sprengan (as still in to spring a trap, etc.). Slang meaning "to pay" (for a treat, etc.) is recorded from 1906. Meaning "to announce suddenly" (usually with on) is from 1876. Meaning "to release" (from imprisonment) is from 1900.


"season following winter," 1540s, earlier springing time (late 14c.), spring-time (late 15c.), spring of the year (1520s), which had replaced Old English Lent by late 14c. From spring (v.); also see spring (n.3). The notion is of the "spring of the year," when plants "spring up" (cf. spring of the leaf, 1530s).

Other Germanic languages tend to take words for "fore" or "early" as their roots for the season name, cf. Danish voraar, Dutch voorjaar, literally "fore-year;" German Frühling, from Middle High German vrueje "early." In 15c., the season also was prime-temps, after Old French prin tans, tamps prim (French printemps, which replaced primevère 16c. as the common word for spring), from Latin tempus primum, literally "first time, first season."

Spring fever was Old English lenctenadle; first record of spring cleaning is in 1857 (in ancient Persia, the first month, corresponding to March-April, was Adukanaiša, which apparently means "Irrigation-Canal-Cleaning Month;" Kent, p.167). Spring chicken "small roasting chicken" (usually 11 to 14 weeks) is recorded from 1780; transferred sense of "young person" first recorded 1906. Spring training first attested 1897.


"source of a stream or river," Old English, from spring (v.) on the notion of the water "bursting forth" from the ground. Rarely used alone, appearing more often in compounds, e.g. wyllspring "wellspring." Figurative sense of "source or origin of something" is attested from early 13c.


"act of springing or leaping," mid-15c., from spring (v.). The elastic coil that returns to its shape when stretched is so called from early 15c., originally in clocks and watches. As a device in carriages, coaches, etc., it is attested from 1660s. The oldest noun sense (c.1300) is a general one of "action or time of rising or springing into existence." It was used of sunrise, the waxing of the moon, rising tides, etc., and is preserved in spring (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spring in Science



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.
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.