Definition of spring in English:



  • 1[no object] Move or jump suddenly or rapidly upward or forward.

    ‘I sprang out of bed’
    figurative ‘they sprang to her defense’
    • ‘The two men behind her suddenly sprang into action, rushing forward, each one grabbing him under an arm.’
    • ‘The door suddenly swung open, and they sprang apart.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the cat sprang from the bed and pushed its way through a small hole in the door.’
    • ‘Then the leader sprang forward toward me, pointing his gun at me.’
    • ‘Violet suddenly sprang forward and seized her by the arm.’
    • ‘The horse just sprung into the air and came backwards right down on her.’
    • ‘They hid behind the doorway and listened, preparing to spring out and attack if needed.’
    • ‘I quickly sprung out of bed and into the shower.’
    • ‘One man is at the head of the boat, and he springs off first as they touch land.’
    • ‘He sprang to national prominence when Armagh qualified for the All-Ireland final of 1977.’
    • ‘Jimmy then sprung up, opened the door, and saw his four best buddies.’
    • ‘She shook away the questions that had sprung unbidden to her mind and focused on the present.’
    • ‘He springs up when he sees me and approaches the car.’
    • ‘Chloe then sprang out of her bed and went to her closet.’
    • ‘Courageous motorists sprang to the aid of two elderly women trapped in their car after an accident in North Yorkshire.’
    • ‘In a instant, the door was open and he sprang into the room.’
    • ‘Before Whitney had a chance to really answer, Jay sprang from her bed.’
    • ‘Suddenly one of the men sprung forward in an attempt to grab Rachel.’
    • ‘Even some of his political foes sprang to his defence.’
    • ‘He sprung to prominence last season when he scored the winner at Rochdale on his full debut.’
    leap, jump, bound, vault, hop
    appear suddenly, appear unexpectedly, materialize
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Move rapidly or suddenly from a constrained position by or as if by the action of a spring.
      ‘the drawer sprang open’
      • ‘Within seconds Kailey had the cell door springing open, and she walked inside.’
      • ‘It's hard enough to entertain youngsters in a room filled with toys, a TV and a video machine, let alone an airport lounge, or a taxi rank where the only stimulation is the odd suitcase springing open.’
      • ‘He stopped in front of it and touched the cabinet's cold metal exterior with a hand, running it along until he found the three locks, all of which sprang open quickly.’
      • ‘He started to drive off, but the boot sprang open.’
      • ‘It sprang open, and my clothes flew in all directions.’
      • ‘The lid sprang open, revealing a small object wrapped in blue silk.’
      • ‘Design can be an issue, too, as aluminum stampings are more rigid than steel and prone to springing back to their original shape after being formed.’
      • ‘The doors sprang open and Stella was thankful that she had stepped back.’
      • ‘This time the top drawer sprang open, just missing my head.’
      • ‘This material is light, wears well and springs back to shape after being bent.’
      • ‘It's raining outside and black umbrellas spring open.’
      • ‘There was a loud click, and the chest sprang open.’
      • ‘Before too long one of the doors sprung open and a page asked them to enter.’
      • ‘I was rewarded by a faint click as the lock sprang open.’
      • ‘The branches sprang back into their original positions.’
      • ‘Sometimes, you can press the pile down with a paint guard or a piece of stiff card, but if it seems likely to spring back and stick to the wet gloss, that is not a good look.’
      • ‘The doors to Titan's office sprang open as the last echoes of a gunshot reverberated throughout the room.’
      • ‘A Bradford dad-of-two was blinded when a bungee cord he was using to tie up a deckchair sprang open and hit him in the eye.’
      • ‘His eyes sprang open as he remembered what had happened the night before.’
      • ‘The holder clips onto your jacket and when you get to a ski lift you simply pull it out to insert the pass into the reader and it springs back into position.’
      • ‘Once the impact is over and the panel has sprung back to its original shape, the damage can hardly be seen.’
      fly back, recoil
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    2. 1.2Operate suddenly by means of a mechanism.
      [no object] ‘the engine sprang into life’
      • ‘Perhaps I could devise a way to plant a heavy-duty rat trap in my bag, arranged so it would not spring unless someone stuck their hand where it didn't belong.’
      • ‘The White House press machine has sprung into action.’
      • ‘Since the recruitment drive sprung into operation last month, a staggering 248 new members have signed up.’
      • ‘When the alarm went off, the vibrations had sprung the trap every time.’
      • ‘There was a sudden hiss of water, and the sprinklers lining the path sprang into life.’
      • ‘He waited until Max had lined up his shot perfectly to spring the trap.’
      • ‘She pressed down on a button and the ship shuddered as the main engine sprung to life.’
      • ‘When he entered the kitchen, he reported: The trap beside the hole had indeed sprung, but there was no trace of a rat.’
      • ‘The freighter's engines sprang to life, deafening its only two occupants.’
    3. 1.3[with object]Cause (a game bird) to rise from cover.
    4. 1.4informal [with object]Bring about the escape or release of (a prisoner)
      ‘the president sought to spring the hostages’
      • ‘He's the guy who sprang you from prison four years ago. Remember?’
      • ‘His protectors had sprung the 14-year-old Tyson from borstal on the promise of giving him a stable home and schooling.’
      • ‘All was right in the Harriet house until the culprits were sprung from jail by their eighteen-year-old son.’
      • ‘His offer of a $100m dollar reward for whoever springs him from custody leads to a daring escape and chase sequence which is one of the film's highlights.’
      • ‘Is there a huge problem with renegade owners unlawfully springing their offending dogs from the doggy jail?’
      • ‘We cannot intervene with the police to get British citizens released, nor spring them from jail.’
      • ‘The other is 23 and was recently sprung from prison after serving a couple of sentences for drug/weapons charges.’
      • ‘Then he is sprung from prison by close associate Mike Carter so that Bannion can lead a daring racetrack heist.’
      • ‘Chickens, turkeys, pigs, rabbits and ducks are also being sprung from their cages and sent out to pasture.’
      • ‘When two men spring their wives from prison, it goes so well they decide to make jail-breaking their business.’
  • 2[no object] Originate or arise from.

    ‘madness and creativity could spring from the same source’
    • ‘It may be that the reconstituted family, composed of former spouses and step relations, is a reality for many today; kindness can spring from the most unexpected sources.’
    • ‘Like it or not, the beauty of mathematics springs from its rigorous austerity.’
    • ‘Beardslee's knowledge and passion for this issue springs from his own quest for answers following his sister's depression and suicide.’
    • ‘Clearly, there's a lot of business activity in the inner cities, but only a small fraction of it appears to spring from the people who grew up there.’
    • ‘From this dynamic leader's audacious vision has sprung a city that is breathtaking in scale and vision.’
    • ‘It is not fair that Ditko goes so unmentioned, but at least some of that springs from his refusal to speak with reporters, allow himself to be photographed, etc.’
    • ‘And it's surely no coincidence that this most overtly mercenary of musical forms springs from an urban area lying only a few miles from Hollywood where the global entertainment industry is headquartered.’
    • ‘Obsession with grain-growing sprang, of course, from an age-old but well-justified fear of famine.’
    • ‘Furthermore, I began to realize just how many problems and troubles spring from this fact.’
    • ‘Hope, though, does spring from some unexpected corners.’
    • ‘From there sprung his interest in that part of Africa.’
    • ‘Sexual identity is rooted in every person's biology before birth and springs from a variation in our individual genome.’
    • ‘But the inspiration for Faulks' new novel originally sprang from a childhood memory of a ‘peculiar boy’ in the village where he grew up, and the tragic illness of a family friend.’
    • ‘From the set to the characters' odd and affecting mannerisms, the whole enterprise suggested the kind of apparent simplicity and artlessness that only springs from hard work.’
    • ‘There are several research questions that spring from the results of this study.’
    • ‘Auster speaks of ‘…an art that springs from self-denial and spiritual struggle, from the search for one's own limits’.’
    • ‘But all of this springs from a single principle: that steady, permanent relationships are key to helping children heal and families cope.’
    originate from, have its origins in, derive from, arise from, stem from, emanate from, proceed from, start from, issue from, evolve from, come from
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    1. 2.1Appear suddenly or unexpectedly from.
      ‘tears sprang from his eyes’
      • ‘She hugged me again and new tears sprang from her eyes.’
      • ‘Where the blazes did he spring from?’
    2. 2.2Suddenly develop or appear.
      ‘a terrible storm sprang up’
      • ‘Wood processing facilities have sprung up in many areas of the United States in recent years, particularly in areas with high landfill costs.’
      • ‘Large commercial developments are starting to spring up in the town.’
      • ‘Little interesting places to eat are springing up like tulips everywhere on Centre Street North.’
      • ‘Many theories and approaches to development have sprung up in the past fifty years, including the post-modernism anti-development.’
      • ‘The profile of the penthouse buyer is as diverse as the number of developments that have sprung up in recent years.’
      • ‘There will be lambs in the fields soon and bulbs springing up.’
      • ‘They hauled the fish on board - this time I was up on the cabin top filming - a somewhat precarious perch as a stiff wind had sprung up and the boat was rocking quite wildly.’
      • ‘Coffee shops were also springing up in the provincial cities.’
      • ‘New dive operations and resorts have sprung up everywhere.’
      • ‘She was concerned about the number of industrial buildings that were springing up near the motorway exit close to her home.’
      • ‘Everywhere you turn in Glasgow it seems another new development with an evocative name is springing up.’
      • ‘Gale-force winds spring up with little warning, whipping the surface of the lakes into a frenzy of white-capped waves.’
      • ‘For those who want to enjoy the attractions of Durban without being trapped in the city, a number of coastal resorts are springing up.’
      • ‘New developments, apartments, balconied villas, shops and restaurants are springing up everywhere.’
      • ‘Lights were slowly springing up all over the city and the stars began to appear over head.’
      • ‘A string of high-priced flat developments has sprung up across the centre, and selling agents are reporting huge demand.’
      • ‘Then, almost unnoticed, a playful breeze sprang up, which turned rather suddenly into something stiffer.’
      • ‘This population boom is reflected in the number of new houses springing up along the little roads leading to and from the village.’
      • ‘Selling books is big business with branches of Waterstones, Blackwells and Ottakers springing up all over the place.’
      • ‘Controversial new masts are springing up across Hampshire as a new high-tech police radio system is set to be launched.’
    3. 2.3[with object]Present or propose something suddenly or unexpectedly to (someone)
      ‘we decided to spring a surprise on them’
      • ‘Life has a habit of springing surprises on you, pleasant and unpleasant.’
      • ‘How very unlike you, Eaton, to spring this surprise upon your family!’
      • ‘Now, you just forget we've had this conversation and make sure you behave in a suitably astonished manner when she finally springs her little surprise on you.’
      • ‘He said: ‘The Home Secretary was wrong to spring his decision on the police authority, and they are within their rights to take the final decision.’’
      • ‘Usually it was Al who enjoyed springing outrageous surprises on his more staid partner.’
      • ‘Latham is at his best when he springs surprises on the Government.’
      • ‘The biggest complaint is that the city officials went outside the approval process and sprang this on us as a done deal.’
      • ‘But he is wary of an announcement being sprung on him.’
      • ‘I feel a little guilty for springing the whole problem on her without warning.’
      • ‘I think I might have sprung the idea on him a little too soon.’
      • ‘Anyway, I hope your first day back at University, school, or even a college of Further Education is not too hard, and your lecturer/teacher doesn't spring a surprise test on you.’
      • ‘After our mutual greetings, he sprung something on me that I wasn't expecting.’
      • ‘Whenever something bad happens or is just sprung upon you, you always try to see that positive silver lining lurking beneath the surface somewhere.’
      • ‘The trust's decision to close Sandra House was sprung on the residents without consultation, and with no real attempt to explain the reasoning that led to it.’
      • ‘People are clearly worried and figure, ‘They are just waiting until the election is over to spring the bad news on us.’’
      • ‘Do you think she's angry with me for springing the wedding on her the way I did?’
      • ‘You've just sprung this on me and you expect me to react well?’
      • ‘You just can't spring these things on someone, I need earlier notice!’
      • ‘Lal continues to spring surprises on audiences.’
      • ‘He chose a November night in 1892 to spring his idea on the Intelligentsia of Paris with a speech at the Sorbornne.’
      announce suddenly, announce unexpectedly, present suddenly, present unexpectedly, introduce suddenly, introduce unexpectedly, reveal suddenly, reveal unexpectedly
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  • 3[with object] Cushion or fit (a vehicle or item of furniture) with springs.

    ‘a fully sprung mattress’
    • ‘In terms of car set-up, we try to spring the cars quite stiffly in order to get a responsive change of direction through the chicanes.’
    • ‘Last night I actually dropped him on a nice sprung wood floor during a dance rehearsal.’
    • ‘He introduced ambulances volantes, light, two-wheeled, sprung vehicles, drawn by two horses, for the rapid evacuation of the wounded.’
    • ‘The building also boasts one of the first sprung dance floors with a balcony, dining room with chandeliers and stained glass windows.’
    • ‘The drawing room includes a sprung German oak floor, as well as wood-panelled walls and an eye-catching fireplace in white marble.’
    • ‘Combined with sundeck, swimming pool and sprung sitting room flooring for dancing, these touches might have pushed opulence towards showiness.’
    • ‘In smaller towns, theaters may not have sprung floors or the manpower to cater to dancers' requests.’
    • ‘Also, the NSX felt skittish at high speed along poor surfaces, but that's not unusual for such a firmly sprung car.’
    • ‘This is a softly sprung car, which makes it roll at the slightest hint of a corner.’
    • ‘Mechanically, we spring the cars softly to maximise the grip available to the drivers but also to cope with the bumps and cambers.’
    • ‘The ballroom floor was sprung but at times I feared for our lives.’
    • ‘The development will see the coach house turned into an education room with a lightly sprung floor for the provision of performance arts.’
  • 4[no object] (especially of wood) become warped or split.

    1. 4.1[with object](of a boat) suffer splitting of (a mast or other part)
  • 5North American informal [no object] Pay for, especially as a treat for someone else.

    ‘he's never offered to spring for dinner’
    • ‘If you can afford it, spring for the Deluxe Edition.’
    • ‘Look, vacations are expensive - so the parents might not be able to spring for arena tickets.’
    • ‘He's playing Atlanta tonight, and I was wondering if it'd be worth springing for the tickets.’
    • ‘She drives the men to Village Inn each week to study and even springs for their beverages, convinced that ‘a different environment will give them the boost they need.’’
    • ‘You share sunscreen, swap flip-flops and take turns springing for sno-cones.’
    • ‘He's a billionaire, but he can't spring for a 37-cent stamp?’
    • ‘We sprung for expensive couchette seats, and ended up with our own little cabin on the boat.’
    • ‘Of course, on the upside, we bridesmaids get to wear our own outfits and she's springing for Manolos for everyone.’
    • ‘Besides, it's your folks' fault for not springing for voicemail.’
    • ‘We also got a bottle of Mustela baby skin freshener as a gift, and while I doubt I'd spring for this stuff myself, it does smell quite nice.’
    • ‘You do have to spring for admission to the Science Center - $10 for adults and $7 for kids - but remember the popular Seattle attraction is air conditioned.’
    • ‘The first time I ever sprang for the hardcover price of a book because I couldn't wait until it came out in paper, it was for a book by Germaine Greer.’
    • ‘After that, I started springing for cabs whenever I was in Brooklyn.’
    • ‘Next time I'm in Vegas, I'm going to spring for a $200 seat up nice and close.’
    • ‘Speaking of space, if you can, spring for a cabin with a balcony.’
    • ‘Let's hope that for the next print run - and there will be a next - the publisher springs for a more sophisticated image.’
    • ‘But recently while shopping at BestBuy, I purchased a washer and dryer and actually sprang for their extra warranty.’
    • ‘If you don't want to spring for the whole house (bidding starts at $150,000), you can bid on a piece of plaster or wood from the place.’
    • ‘Few parents are willing to spring for a $250 PSP, especially when Junior already has a PlayStation 2 at home.’
    • ‘When I was a lad a baseball cap was a baseball cap, even if you weren't springing for the top-of-the-line officially-licensed fitted variety.’
    1. 5.1archaic [with object]Spend (money)
      ‘he might spring a few pennies more’
      • ‘I'd rather spring an extra dollar for one of her foil-wrapped, stuffed baked potatoes (that's real bacon in there) than content myself with institutional fries.’
      pay out, lay out, expend, disburse
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  • 1The 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 modifier] ‘spring rain’
    figurative ‘he was in the spring of his years’
    • ‘This last week or so, with the sun shining for much of the time and a strong hint of spring in the air, a lot of people will have been spending time outdoors.’
    • ‘Although the spring migration has barely begun, tens of thousands of geese and huge flocks of ducks are already here.’
    • ‘There should be a referendum in the spring or autumn of next year.’
    • ‘My husband and I want to travel to Europe next spring.’
    • ‘You don't want to plant your seeds out in the spring until the danger of frost has past.’
    • ‘These weeds often increase with wet springs after years where pastures were over grazed.’
    • ‘In spring, it bears masses of pale pink, vanilla-scented blooms.’
    • ‘The inland region has a continental climate with very cold winters, hot, humid summers, and spring and autumn seasons that are often rainy.’
    • ‘Koji and I were married in the spring, a year later.’
    • ‘It was a short walk, and in the spring and summer months quite enjoyable.’
    • ‘Early spring is the best time of year to change your garden design.’
    • ‘Planting potted roses is relatively easy, as long as you do your planting in the spring after any chance of a frost is long past.’
    • ‘Some species provide beautiful displays of color for short periods in the spring or fall.’
    • ‘The spring breeze blew gently through her hair as she entered the park.’
    • ‘Every spring, about 100 pairs nest here along with great blue herons and snowy egrets.’
    • ‘If you're anything like me, you'll be longing for the winter to come to an end and looking forward to getting outside and enjoying the spring.’
    • ‘More than 5000 people enjoyed the warm spring sunshine during the festival's most action-packed day.’
    • ‘The peak breeding season is in late spring and early summer, although some breeding takes place throughout the year.’
    • ‘When the bulbs come up in the spring and start blooming, you should clip off the blooms as they start to wither.’
    • ‘Schoolchildren from York are looking forward to spring so they can see the results of their gardening efforts.’
    • ‘The club need to carry out renovations in the spring to ensure the building is fit for use throughout next season.’
    springtime, eastertide
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    1. 1.1Astronomy The period from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice.
    2. 1.2
      short for spring tide
      • ‘The archipelago has a fourteen-foot tidal difference during spring and neap so the surroundings are ever changing, revealing its secrets.’
      • ‘Wrasse feed on the neap tides and on the springs.’
      • ‘The slip next to the Teign Diving Centre is usable at all states of the tide except very low springs.’
      • ‘All the wreckage is in shallow water, less than 7 or 8m even at high tide - in fact it can be too shallow to dive at low-water springs.’
      • ‘Gordon explained that the ideal tide for the Seven Stones was a low-water spring, with a good hour of slack water and the rocks exposed.’
      • ‘At springs, the slack lasts 40 minutes and at neaps 90 minutes.’
      • ‘This historic old dock, which only floods at very high springs, was used in olden days by fishermen of the local herring fleet for repairs and for drying of the nets.’
  • 2A 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.

    • ‘Some cutting pliers are set with a spring in the handle that makes it easier and more comfortable to use.’
    • ‘Moving, loosening or adjusting door springs must be done by a garage door serviceperson.’
    • ‘The bed springs twanged and the wooden floor boards responded with a creak.’
    • ‘By loosening a jack bolt or hydraulically dropping the springs with a switch in the car, the team can get the car closer to the ground.’
    • ‘The bottom of the boxes were cushioned with springs to prevent sudden jolts harming the animals.’
    • ‘The kitchen door was on one of those springs to prevent it slamming shut, as a result of which it was well nigh impossible to close it with any kind of speed.’
    • ‘Rossiter watched him, as lithe and graceful as ever, his slim form like a coiled spring and ready to explode with energy at any moment.’
    • ‘In its heyday in the 1960s, Tempered Spring employed more than 1,000 people making springs for cars, the agricultural industry, the railways and office equipment.’
    • ‘In this new upholstery, the same interlaced webbing was still used, but it supported a group of springs rather than horsehair.’
    • ‘Look also for a shock-absorbing shoe - one with springs or coils or spongy material under the heel.’
    • ‘He jumped into the air as if a spring propelled him from the ground.’
    • ‘Oil helps cool the valve springs and extend their useful life.’
    • ‘We buy the springs for the mattresses but do the rest of the work ourselves.’
    • ‘Compress the spring on the exhaust valve and measure the movement required for the valve to contact the piston.’
    • ‘Peter Burr is a director and shareholder of Irvine Spring Company, an Ayrshire-based business which manufactures wire shapes and springs for major electronics companies.’
    • ‘Michael sat on Kay's bed, the springs squeaking as his weight hit the mattress.’
    • ‘This simple action is controlled by a complex mass of gears, switches and springs, like you might find inside a watch.’
    • ‘Fred Tedesco's company, Pa-Ted, makes springs and small mechanical assemblies for larger companies.’
    • ‘The tension on the spring can be adjusted using a wing nut so it can grip the line tightly or loosely, whatever the fishing situation demands.’
    • ‘This apparatus is fitted with ropes and pulleys that are attached to taut springs to create tension.’
    1. 2.1The ability to spring back strongly; elasticity.
      ‘the mattress has lost its spring’
      • ‘Groaning, I attempted to sit up as I felt the sharp jabbing a of a bed coil that had long lost its spring shove its way into my side.’
      • ‘Generally, the more twist in the carpet yarns, the more spring, which hides footprints.’
      • ‘His size is a great advantage but he also has spring and ability - in fact he has every attribute to be a top line goalkeeper.’
      springiness, bounciness, bounce, resilience, elasticity, flexibility, stretch, stretchiness, give
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  • 3[in singular] A sudden jump upward or forward.

    ‘with a sudden spring, he leapt onto the table’
    • ‘With a spring, he jumped out of the alleyway and hoofed it back to his apartment.’
    • ‘The new year, however, will put a spring in their step.’
    • ‘He rounded the upcoming corner as only he could; a jump and flip, then a spring off the wall of an adjacent building.’
    leap, jump, bound, vault, hop
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    1. 3.1informal, dated An escape or release from prison.
  • 4A place where water or oil wells up from an underground source, or the basin or flow formed in such a way.

    [as modifier] ‘spring water’
    • ‘I couldn't really see, but I think there was a waterfall at the spring.’
    • ‘Hot waterfalls cascade from its walls; steam rises from its springs.’
    • ‘A remote Dales village which has never been connected to a mains water supply has been linked up to a moorland spring.’
    • ‘Vichy is known for its hot mineral springs that have been frequented since Roman times.’
    • ‘Numerous streams running from springs on the wolds down towards the River Hull have helped shape Beverley's streets.’
    • ‘The hamlet is home to about 30 people who take their drinking water from a spring high on the moors above the valley - a source used for centuries.’
    • ‘She said builders renovating houses often cut channels into underground springs, resulting in Cotswold stone-coloured silt getting into the watercourse.’
    • ‘I paddle about, listening to the faint plop plop of the burbling springs.’
    • ‘But the scheme has incurred the wrath of the Environment Agency because of its potential effect on domestic water supplies from springs in the area.’
    • ‘With their geothermal underground springs, Icelanders heat their water for next to nothing.’
    • ‘The only source of water was a spring below a steep bank some thirty yards from the house.’
    • ‘The results of the water test showed that pollution was surprisingly minimal, and that there was no sign of sea water leaking into the spring.’
    • ‘Valerie heard sounds of the forest, the chirping of birds and the tinkling of water from a nearby spring.’
    • ‘The water, which overflows from our three natural springs, cascades onto the clover lawn, creating an oasis.’
    • ‘With the population surge, the springs were diverted to municipal uses and the streams dried up leaving once irrigated orchards as parched lands.’
    • ‘An underground spring supplied water that fell into the basin from a small opening in the tunnel's side, creating an artificial waterfall.’
    • ‘For good hiking, visit Rincón de la Vieja, which boasts many trails leading to waterfalls, warm springs, and swimming holes.’
    • ‘On its fertile plateau two springs gave crystal-clear water.’
    • ‘Shallow springs and poorly constructed wells also are vulnerable to protozoa infection.’
    well head
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    1. 4.1The origin or a source of something.
      ‘the place was a spring of musical talent’
      • ‘It becomes impossible to see the springs of the play's action in terms of mere idiosyncratic personal grudges or teenage angst.’
      • ‘The immediate aftermath of the war was marked by a nostalgic return by many artists to the springs of Mediterranean culture.’
      origin, source, fountainhead, root, roots, basis
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  • 5An upward curvature of a ship's deck planking from the horizontal.

    1. 5.1A split in a wooden plank or spar under strain.


  • spring a leak

    • (of a boat or container) develop a leak.

      • ‘Simultaneously, the hot water tank decided to spring a leak, and water was dripping into the sitting room - the plumbers fixed it yesterday.’
      • ‘One of the 12 small jet engines sprang a leak, and others aren't providing the thrust they should be.’
      • ‘Second, there was no way to predict, nor any reason to expect, the other hydraulic system would spring a leak.’
      • ‘The tanker sprang a leak when it hit a floating cargo container, in either Spanish or Portuguese waters.’
      • ‘The holding tank sprang a leak and there was water pumping in all over the basement.’
      • ‘After springing a leak below the water line early yesterday morning, skipper Andrew Tozer and the crew of La Bamba were taken aboard the 41-foot catamaran Island Fling.’
      • ‘Why a two-year-old, double-hulled tanker would suddenly spring a leak has not been explained.’
      • ‘Half way across the inlet, in the black silence of the night we discovered that the boat had sprung a leak.’
      • ‘The Prestige, laden with 77,000 tons of oil, sprang a leak in November off the northwest Spanish coast and sank six days later after snapping in half.’
      • ‘Just a few miles off the north-west of Menorca, the 500 ton coaster Francisquita sprang a leak and foundered in December 1952.’
  • spring a trap

    • 1Cause a trap for catching animals to close suddenly.

      • ‘Silverspot springs a trap by dropping rocks on it.’
      1. 1.1Trick someone into doing something.
        ‘she decided to spring the trap after noticing that her husband was behaving erratically’
        • ‘Halfway through, he sprang a trap on the Muslim leadership.’
        • ‘I believe she is about to spring a trap.’
        • ‘She didn't want to run into anything unexpected, and if the Norak were going to spring a trap, now would be the time.’
        • ‘He waited until the Nation piece to spring a trap.’


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.