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spring on someone

Present or make known unexpectedly, as in They sprung the news of their engagement on the family last night. This idiom uses spring in the sense of “make a sudden move.” Mark Twain used it in Tom Sawyer (1876): “Old Mr. Jones is going to try to spring something on the people here tonight.”

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.