spring

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English

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Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Middle English springen, from Old English springan (to spring, leap, bounce, sprout forth, emerge, spread out), from Proto-West Germanic *springan, from Proto-Germanic *springaną (to burst forth), from Proto-Indo-European *spre(n)ǵʰ- (to move, race, spring), from *sper- (to jerk, twitch, snap, shove). Cognate with Saterland Frisian springe, West Frisian springe, Dutch springen, German Low German springen, German springen, Danish springe, Swedish springa, Norwegian springe, Faroese springa, Icelandic springa (to burst, explode).

Other possible cognates include Lithuanian spreñgti (to push (in)), Old Church Slavonic прѧсти (pręsti, to spin, to stretch), Latin spargere (to sprinkle, to scatter), Ancient Greek σπέρχω (spérkhō, to hasten), Sanskrit स्पृहयति (spṛháyati, to be eager). Some newer senses derived from the noun.

Verb

spring (third-person singular simple present springs, present participle springing, simple past sprang or sprung, past participle sprung)

  1. (intransitive) To move or burst forth.
    • Beowulf, ll. 2966–7:
      ...for swenge swat ædrum sprong
      forð under fexe.
      ...for the swing, the blood from his veins sprang
      forth under his hair.
    • c. 1540, Livy, translated by John Bellenden, History of Rome, Vol. I, i, xxii, p. 125:
      ...þe wound þat was springand with huge stremes of blude...
    The boat sprang a leak and began to sink.
    1. To appear.
    2. To grow, to sprout.
      1. (UK dialectal) To mature.
    3. (figurative) To arise, to come into existence.
      Synonyms: arise, form, take shape
    4. (sometimes figurative) To enliven.
      He hit the gas and the car sprang to life.
    5. (figurative, usually with cardinal adverbs) To move with great speed and energy.
      • c. 1250, Life of St Margaret, Trin. Col. MS B.14.39 (323), f. 22v:
        ...into helle spring...
      • 1474, William Caxton, transl., Game and Playe of the Chesse, iii, vii, 141:
        Ye kynge... sprange out of his chare and resseyuyd them worshipfully.
      • 1722, Ambrose Philips, The Briton:
        ...the Mountain Stag, that springs
        From Height to Height, and bounds along the Plains,
        Nor has a Master to restrain his Course...
      • 1827, Clement Clarke Moore, (A Visit from St. Nicholas):
        ...out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
        I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
      • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
        However, with the dainty volume my quondam friend sprang into fame. At the same time he cast off the chrysalis of a commonplace existence.
      • 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs, chapter 5, in Tarzan of the Apes:
        Thus she advanced; her belly low, almost touching the surface of the ground—a great cat preparing to spring upon its prey.
      • 2011 April 11, The Atlantic:
        Reporters sprang to the conclusion that the speech would make detailed new commitments...
      Deer spring with their hind legs, using their front hooves to steady themselves.
      Synonyms: bound, jump, leap
    6. (usually with from) To be born, descend, or originate from
      He sprang from peasant stock.
      • 2008, George McCandless, The ABCs of RBCs, Harvard University Press, p. 7
        From this basis, a first-order difference equation for the evolution of capital per worker is found, and the time path of the economy springs from this equation.
    7. (obsolete) To rise in social position or military rank, to be promoted.
  2. (transitive) To cause to spring (all senses).
    1. (of mechanisms) To cause to work or open by sudden application of pressure.
      He sprang the trap.
      • 1625, Samuel Purchas, Purchas His Pilgrimes, Vol. II, x, ix:
        They sprung another Mine... wherein was placed about sixtie Barrels of Powder.
      • 1747, The London Magazine, Or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer:
        On the 23d, the Besiegers sprung a Mine under the Salient Angle, upon the Right of the Haif Moon, which had the desired Success, the Enemy's Gallery on that Side, and the Mason-Work of the Counterscarp, being thereby demolished.
  3. (obsolete, of horses) To breed with, to impregnate.
    • 1585, Nicolas De Nicolay, translated by Thomas Washington, The Navigations, Peregrinations, and Voyages, Made into Turkie..., Bk. IV, p. 154:
      ...[they] sought the fairest stoned horses to spring their mares...
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To wetten, to moisten.
  5. (intransitive, now usually with "apart" or "open") To burst into pieces, to explode, to shatter.
    • 1698, François Froger, A Relation of a Voyage Made... on the Coasts of Africa, page 30:
      On the 22nd the mines sprang, and took very good effect.
  6. (obsolete, military) To go off.
    • 2012 April 21, Sydney Morning Herald, page 5:
      The whole contraption appears liable to spring apart at any moment.
  7. (intransitive, nautical, usually perfective) To crack.
    • 1582 August 2, Richard Madox, diary:
      The Edward sprang hir foremast.
  8. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (transitive, figurative) To surprise by sudden or deft action.
  9. To come upon and flush out.
    • 1819, James Hardy Vaux, "A New and Comprehensive Vocabulary of the Flash Language", Memoirs, Vol. II, s.v. "Plant":
      To spring a plant, is to find any thing that has been concealed by another.
  10. (Australia, slang) To catch in an illegal act or compromising position.
    • 1980, John Hepworth et al., Boozing Out in Melbourne Pubs..., page 42:
      He figured that nobody would ever spring him, but he figured wrong.
  11. (obsolete) To begin.
  12. (obsolete, slang) To put bad money into circulation.
  13. To tell, to share.
    • 2012 February 29, Aidan Foster-Carter, “North Korea: The Denuclearisation Dance Resumes”, in BBC News:
      North Korea loves to spring surprises. More unusual is for its US foe to play along.
    Sorry to spring it on you like this but I've been offered another job.
  14. (transitive, slang, US) To free from imprisonment, especially by facilitating an illegal escape.
    His lieutenants hired a team of miners to help spring him.
    Synonyms: free, let out, release, spring loose, jailbreak
  15. (intransitive, slang, rare) To be free of imprisonment, especially by illegal escape.
  16. (transitive, architecture, of arches) To build, to form the initial curve of.
    They sprung an arch over the lintel.
  17. (intransitive, architecture, of arches, with "from") To extend, to curve.
    The arches spring from the front posts.
  18. (transitive, nautical) To turn a vessel using a spring attached to its anchor cable.
  19. (transitive) To pay or spend a certain sum, to yield.
  20. (obsolete, intransitive, slang) To raise an offered price.
  21. (transitive, US, dialectal) Alternative form of sprain.
  22. (transitive, US, dialectal) Alternative form of strain.
  23. (intransitive, obsolete) To act as a spring: to strongly rebound.
  24. (transitive, rare) To equip with springs, especially (of vehicles) to equip with a suspension.
  25. (figurative, rare, obsolete) to inspire, to motivate.
  26. (transitive, intransitive) To deform owing to excessive pressure, to become warped; to intentionally deform in order to position and then straighten in place.
    • 1873 July, Routledge's Young Gentleman's Magazine, page 503:
      Don't drive it in too hard, as it will ‘spring’ the plane-iron, and make it concave.
    A piece of timber sometimes springs in seasoning.
    He sprang in the slat.
  27. (intransitive, UK, dialectal, chiefly of cows) To swell with milk or pregnancy.
    • 1955, Patrick White, chapter 15, in The Tree of Man, New York: Viking, page 228:
      “Gee, Dad, Nancy’s springing all right,” Ray said and paused in spontaneous pleasure.
      Stan Parker came, and together they looked at their swelling heifer.
  28. (transitive, of rattles, archaic) To sound, to play.
    • 1850, Samuel Prout Newcombe, Pleasant pages, page 197:
      I do not know how John and his mistress would have settled the fate of the thief, but just at this moment a policeman entered — for the cook had sprung the rattle, and had been screaming "Murder" and "Thieves."
  29. (intransitive) To spend the springtime somewhere
    • 1835 May, “Northern Germany. A Sketch.”, in Fraser’s Magazine for Town and Country, volume XI, number LXV, page 507:
      True it is that, owing to the migratory propensities of our countrymen, every third man has wintered at Naples, springed at Vienna, summered in Switzerland, and autumned on the banks of the Lago Maggiore;
    • 1912, William C Sprague, Tad, the Story of a Boy who Had No Chance, page 2:
      If Tad’s father and Tad had wintered, springed, summered, and autumned together for an hundred years instead of fifteen they could []
    • 1937, Mortimer Jones, “Lines of No Importance”, in The Alphi Phi Quarterly, page 29:
      They wintered in a warm place / And summered in a cold, / But where they springed and autumned / I never have been told.
    • 1950, Chambers’s Journal, page 269:
      She springed in London, summered in Stockholm, autumned at Vichy, and wintered at Monte Carlo.
    • 2006, Tim Pratt, “The Third-Quarter King”, in Jonathan Strahan, Jeremy G Byrne, editors, Eidolon I, →ISBN, page 2:
      In recent years his friend the fourth-quarter king summered, autumned, and springed in nearby Southern California, which was how they stayed so easily in touch.
    • 2010, Larry Stettner, Bill Morrison, Cooking for the Common Good: The Birth of a Natural Foods Soup Kitchen, Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, →ISBN, page 84:
      Larry and Bill had planned to hold a white-linen “fancy” fund-raiser dinner in late June or early July, which would bring out the moneyed crowd who “summered” on the Island. If you summer or winter somewhere you are affluent, Larry knew. (Funny, though, he had never heard of anyone who “autumned” in Vermont or who was “springing” in Colorado.)
  30. (of animals) to find or get enough food during springtime.
Usage notes
  • The past-tense forms sprang and sprung are both well attested historically. In modern usage, sprang is comparatively formal (and more often considered correct), sprung comparatively informal. The past participle, however, is overwhelmingly sprung; sprang as a past participle is attested, but is no longer in standard use.
Conjugation
Synonyms
Derived terms
Related terms
Translations

Etymology 2

From Middle English spryng (a wellspring, tide, branch, sunrise, kind of dance or blow, ulcer, snare, flock); partly from Old English spring (wellspring, ulcer), from Proto-West Germanic *spring, from Proto-Germanic *springaz (a wellspring, fount); and partly from Old English spryng (a jump), from Proto-West Germanic *sprungi, from Proto-Germanic *sprungiz (a jump). Further senses derived from the verb and from clippings of day-spring, springtime, spring tide, etc. Its sense as the season, first attested in a work predating 1325, gradually replaced Middle English lente, lentin, from Old English lencten (spring, Lent) as that word became more specifically liturgical. Compare fall.

Noun

Spring (season) in Germany
A coil spring (mechanical device)

spring (countable and uncountable, plural springs)

  1. (countable) An act of springing: a leap, a jump.
  2. (countable) The season of the year in temperate regions in which plants spring from the ground and into bloom and dormant animals spring to life.
    Synonym: springtime
    Coordinate terms: summer, autumn or fall, winter
    Spring is the time of the year most species reproduce.
    You can visit me in the spring, when the weather is bearable.
    • 1850, [Alfred, Lord Tennyson], In Memoriam, London: Edward Moxon, , →OCLC, Canto XXXVIII, page 59:
      No joy the blowing season gives,
      ⁠The herald melodies of spring,
      ⁠But in the songs I love to sing
      A doubtful gleam of solace lives.
    • 2012 March-April, Anna Lena Phillips, “Sneaky Silk Moths”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 2, page 172:
      Last spring, the periodical cicadas emerged across eastern North America. Their vast numbers and short above-ground life spans inspired awe and irritation in humans—and made for good meals for birds and small mammals.
    1. (astronomy) The period from the moment of vernal equinox (around March 21 in the Northern Hemisphere) to the moment of the summer solstice (around June 21); the equivalent periods reckoned in other cultures and calendars.
      Chinese New Year always occurs in January or February but is called the "Spring Festival" throughout East Asia because it is reckoned as the beginning of their spring.
    2. (meteorology) The three months of March, April, and May in the Northern Hemisphere and September, October, and November in the Southern Hemisphere.
      I spent my spring holidays in Morocco.
      The spring issue will be out next week.
  3. (uncountable, figurative) The time of something's growth; the early stages of some process.
    1. (figurative, politics) a period of political liberalization and democratization
  4. (countable, fashion) Someone with ivory or peach skin tone and eyes and hair that are not extremely dark, seen as best suited to certain colors of clothing.
  5. (countable) Something which springs, springs forth, springs up, or springs back, particularly
    1. (geology) A spray or body of water springing from the ground.
      This beer was brewed with pure spring water.
      Synonyms: fount, source
    2. (oceanography, obsolete) The rising of the sea at high tide.
    3. (oceanography) Short for spring tide, the especially high tide shortly after full and new moons.
      Antonym: neap tide
    4. A mechanical device made of flexible or coiled material that exerts force and attempts to spring back when bent, compressed, or stretched.
      We jumped so hard the bed springs broke.
      Synonym: coil
    5. (nautical) A line from a vessel's end or side to its anchor cable used to diminish or control its movement.
      • 1836, Frederick Marryat, Mr. Midshipman Easy, volume III, page 72:
        He had warped round with the springs on his cable, and had recommenced his fire upon the Aurora.
    6. (nautical) A line laid out from a vessel's end to the opposite end of an adjacent vessel or mooring to diminish or control its movement.
      You should put a couple of springs onto the jetty to stop the boat moving so much.
      • 1769, William Falconer, An Universal Dictionary of the Marine, s.v:
        Spring is likewise a rope reaching diagonally from the stern of a ship to the head of another which lies along-side or a-breast of her.
      • 2007 January 26, Business Times::
        Springs’ are the ropes used on a ship that is alongside a berth to prevent fore and aft movements.
    7. (figurative) A race, a lineage.
    8. (figurative) A youth.
    9. A shoot, a young tree.
    10. A grove of trees; a forest.
  6. (countable, slang) An erection of the penis. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  7. (countable, nautical, obsolete) A crack which has sprung up in a mast, spar, or (rare) a plank or seam.
    • 1846, Arthur Young, Nautical Dictionary, page 292:
      A spar is said to be sprung, when it is cracked or split,... and the crack is called a spring.
  8. (uncountable) Springiness: an attribute or quality of springing, springing up, or springing back, particularly
    1. Elasticity: the property of a body springing back to its original form after compression, stretching, etc.
      the spring of a bow
      Synonyms: bounce, bounciness, elasticity, resilience, springiness
    2. Elastic energy, power, or force.
  9. (countable) The source from which an action or supply of something springs.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible,  (King James Version), London: Robert Barker, , →OCLC, Psalms 87:7:
      As wel the singers as the players on instruments shall bee there: all my springs are in thee.
    • 1693, The Folly and Unreasonableness of Atheism..., Richard Bentley, Sermon 1:
      Such a man can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth him, he can patiently suffer all things with cheerfull submission and resignation to the Divine Will. He has a secret Spring of spiritual Joy, and the continual Feast of a good Conscience within, that forbid him to be miserable.
    • 1748, David Hume, Enquiries Concerning the Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals, London: Oxford University Press, published 1973, §9:
      [] discover, at least in some degree, the secret springs and principles, by which the human mind is actuated in its operations?
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, London: Heinemann, →OCLC, page 1:
      ‘Have you ever contemplated, Adrian, the phenomenon of springs?’
      ‘Coils, you mean?’
      ‘Not coils, Adrian, no. Coils not. Think springs of water. Think wells and spas and sources. Well-springs in the widest and loveliest sense. Jerusalem, for instance, is a spring of religiosity. One small town in the desert, but the source of the world’s three most powerful faiths... Religion seems to bubble from its sands.’
    Synonyms: impetus, impulse
  10. (countable) Something which causes others or another to spring forth or spring into action, particularly
    1. A cause, a motive, etc.
    2. (obsolete) A lively piece of music.
Usage notes

Note that season names are not capitalized in modern English except where any noun would be capitalized, e.g. at the beginning of a sentence or as part of a name (Old Man Winter, the Winter War, Summer Glau). This is in contrast to the days of the week and months of the year, which are always capitalized (Thursday or September).

Synonyms
Derived terms
Related terms
Translations
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also

Seasons in English · seasons (layout · text) · category
spring summer autumn, fall winter

References

Afrikaans

Etymology

From Dutch springen.

Pronunciation

Verb

spring (present spring, present participle springende, past participle gespring)

  1. to leap, jump

Derived terms

Danish

Etymology

Verbal noun to springe.

Noun

spring n (singular definite springet, plural indefinite spring)

  1. (athletics, gymnastics) spring, jump, vault, leap

Declension

Related terms

Verb

spring

  1. imperative of springe

Dutch

Pronunciation

Verb

spring

  1. inflection of springen:
    1. first-person singular present indicative
    2. imperative

German

Pronunciation

Verb

spring

  1. singular imperative of springen
  2. (colloquial) first-person singular present of springen

Icelandic

Verb

spring

  1. inflection of springa:
    1. first-person singular present indicative
    2. second-person singular imperative

Middle English

Etymology 1

Noun

spring

  1. Alternative form of spryng

Etymology 2

Verb

spring

  1. Alternative form of spryngen

Norwegian Bokmål

Verb

spring

  1. imperative of springe

Norwegian Nynorsk

Verb

spring

  1. present of springa

Scots

Pronunciation

Noun

spring (plural springs)

  1. spring, springtime
  2. growth of vegetation in springtime

Verb

tae spring (third-person singular simple present springs, present participle springin, simple past sprang, past participle sprung)

  1. to spring
  2. to leap over, cross at a bound
  3. to put forth, send up or out
  4. to burst, split, break apart, break into
  5. to dance a reel

Swedish

Noun

spring n

  1. a running (back and forth)
    • 1918, Goss-skolan i Plumfield, the Swedish translation of Louisa M. Alcott, Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys (1871)
      Eftermiddagen tillbragtes med att ordna sakerna, och när springet och släpet och hamrandet var förbi, inbjödos damerna att beskåda anstalten.
      The afternoon was spent in arranging things, and when the running and lugging and hammering was over, the ladies were invited to behold the institution.
    Barnen hade spring i benen
    The children had lots of energy ("running in the legs")

Declension

Declension of spring 
Uncountable
Indefinite Definite
Nominative spring springet
Genitive springs springets

Verb

spring

  1. imperative of springa

References