American English

Definition of spring verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they spring
    he / she / it springs
    past simple sprang
    past participle sprung
    -ing form springing
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    jump/move suddenly
  1. 1[intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) (of a person or an animal) to move suddenly and with one quick movement in a particular direction synonym leap He turned off the alarm and sprang out of bed. Everyone sprang to their feet (= stood up suddenly) when the principal walked in. The cat crouched ready to spring. The attacker sprang out at her from a doorway. (figurative) to spring to someone's defense/assistance (= to quickly defend or help someone)
  2. 2[intransitive] (of an object) to move suddenly and violently + adv./prep. The branch sprang back and hit him in the face. + adj. She turned the key and the lid sprang open.
  3. surprise
  4. 3[transitive] to do something, ask something, or say something that someone is not expecting spring something She sprang a surprise by winning the tournament. spring something on somebody I'm sorry to spring it on you, but I've been offered another job.
  5. appear suddenly
  6. 4[intransitive] + adv./prep. to appear or come somewhere suddenly Tears sprang to her eyes. He tried to bite back the words that sprang to his lips.
  7. free prisoner
  8. 5[transitive] spring somebody (informal) to help a prisoner to escape Plans to spring the hostages have failed.
  9. Idioms
    come/spring to mind
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    if something comes/springs to mind, you suddenly remember or think of it When discussing influential modern artists, three names immediately come to mind.
    hope springs eternal (saying)
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    people never stop hoping
    spring into action, spring into/to life
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    (of a person, machine, etc.) to suddenly start working or doing something “Let's go!” he said, springing into action. The town springs into life (= becomes busy) during the carnival.
    spring a leak
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    (of a boat or container) to develop a hole through which water or another liquid can pass
      spring a trap
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    1. 1to make a trap for catching animals close suddenly
    2. 2to try to trick someone into doing or saying something; to succeed in this
    Phrasal Verbsspring for somethingspring from somethingspring from…spring up
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: spring