Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb, \ˈspriŋ\

Definition of spring

sprang play \ˈspraŋ\ or sprung play \ˈsprəŋ\ sprungspringing play \ˈspriŋ-iŋ\

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a (1) :  dart, shoot <sparks sprang out from the fire> (2) :  to be resilient or elastic; also :  to move by elastic force <the lid sprang shut>b :  to become warped

  3. 2 :  to issue with speed and force or as a stream <tears spring from our eyes>

  4. 3a :  to grow as a plantb :  to issue by birth or descent <sprang from the upper class>c :  to come into being :  arise <towns sprang up across the plains>d archaic :  dawne :  to begin to blow —used with up <a breeze quickly sprang up>

  5. 4a :  to make a leap or series of leaps <springing across the lawn>b :  to leap or jump up suddenly <sprang from their seats>

  6. 5 :  to stretch out in height :  rise

  7. 6 :  pay —used with for <I'll spring for the drinks>

  8. transitive verb
  9. 1 :  to cause to spring

  10. 2a :  to undergo or bring about the splitting or cracking of <wind sprang the mast>b :  to undergo the opening of (a leak)

  11. 3a :  to cause to operate suddenly <spring a trap>b :  to apply or insert by bendingc :  to bend by force

  12. 4 :  to leap over

  13. 5 :  to produce or disclose suddenly or unexpectedly

  14. 6 :  to make lame

  15. 7 :  to release or cause to be released from confinement or custody <sprung them from jail>

Origin of spring

Middle English, from Old English springan; akin to Old High German springan to jump and perhaps to Greek sperchesthai to hasten

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of spring

spring, arise, rise, originate, derive, flow, issue, emanate, proceed, stem mean to come up or out of something into existence. spring implies rapid or sudden emerging <an idea that springs to mind>. arise and rise may both convey the fact of coming into existence or notice but rise often stresses gradual growth or ascent <new questions have arisen> <slowly rose to prominence>. originate implies a definite source or starting point <the fire originated in the basement>. derive implies a prior existence in another form <the holiday derives from an ancient Roman feast>. flow adds to spring a suggestion of abundance or ease of inception <words flowed easily from her pen>. issue suggests emerging from confinement through an outlet <blood issued from the cut>. emanate applies to the coming of something immaterial (as a thought) from a source <reports emanating from the capital>. proceed stresses place of origin, derivation, parentage, or logical cause <advice that proceeds from the best of intentions>. stem implies originating by dividing or branching off from something as an outgrowth or subordinate development <industries stemming from space research>.



noun, often attributive

Simple Definition of spring

  • : the season between winter and summer : the season when plants and trees begin to grow

  • : a twisted or coiled piece of metal that returns to its original shape when it is pressed down or stretched

  • : the ability of something to return to its original shape when it is pressed down, stretched, twisted, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of spring

  1. 1a :  a source of supply; especially :  a source of water issuing from the groundb :  an ultimate source especially of action or motion

  2. 2 :  spring tide

  3. 3 :  a time or season of growth or development; specifically :  the season between winter and summer comprising in the northern hemisphere usually the months of March, April, and May or as reckoned astronomically extending from the March equinox to the June solstice

  4. 4 :  an elastic body or device that recovers its original shape when released after being distorted

  5. 5a :  the act or an instance of leaping up or forward :  boundb (1) :  capacity for springing :  resilience (2) :  energy, bounce

  6. 6 :  the point or plane at which an arch or vault curve springs from its impost

springlike play \-ˌlīk\ adjective

Examples of spring in a sentence

  1. We'll plant the seeds next spring.

  2. We've had a rainy spring.

  3. a beautiful day in early spring

  4. The first few weeks of spring were unusually warm.

  5. The mattress is old and some of the springs are broken.

  6. The cushion has lost its spring.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of spring

before 12th century

Other Calendar Terms



transitive verb,

Definition of spring

sprung play \ˈsprəŋ\ springing play \ˈspriŋ-iŋ\

  1. :  to fit with springs


First Known Use of spring


SPRING Defined for Kids



verb \ˈspriŋ\

Definition of spring for Students

sprang \ˈspraŋ\ or sprung \ˈsprəŋ\sprungspringing

  1. 1 :  to move suddenly upward or forward :  leap <The lion crouched, waiting to spring.>

  2. 2 :  to appear or grow quickly or suddenly <Weeds sprang up overnight.> <Tears sprang from her eyes.>

  3. 3 :  to have (a leak) appear

  4. 4 :  to move quickly by or as if by stretching and springing back <The lid sprang shut.>

  5. 5 :  to cause to operate suddenly <He was planning to spring a trap.>

  6. 6 :  to come into being :  arise <An idea sprang in his mind.>




Definition of spring for Students

  1. 1 :  the season between winter and summer including in the northern hemisphere usually the months of March, April, and May

  2. 2 :  a twisted or coiled strip of material (as metal) that recovers its original shape when it is released after being squeezed or stretched

  3. 3 :  the ability of something to return to its original shape when it is compressed or stretched

  4. 4 :  a source of supply (as of water coming up from the ground)

  5. 5 :  the act or an instance of leaping up or forward <He … caught sight of the incredible spring of a doe … — Virginia Hamilton, M. C. Higgins>

  6. 6 :  a bouncy or lively quality <She had a spring in her step.>

Medical Dictionary


noun \ˈspriŋ\

Medical Definition of spring

  1. :  any of various elastic orthodontic devices used especially to apply constant pressure to misaligned teeth

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up spring? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tending to dismiss important matters

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

reduce perplex disapprove soothe
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.