—v.i. 1. to rise, leap, move, or act suddenly and swiftly, as by a sudden dart or thrust forward or outward, or being suddenly released from a coiled or constrained position: to spring into the air; a tiger about to spring. 2. to be released from a constrained position, as by resilient or elastic force or from the action of a spring: A trap springs. The door sprang open and in he walked. 3. to issue forth suddenly, as water, blood, sparks, fire, etc. (often fol. by forth, out, or up): Blood sprang from the wound. 4. to come into being, rise, or arise within a short time (usually fol. by up): Industries sprang up in the suburbs. 5. to come into being by growth, as from a seed or germ, bulb, root, etc.; grow, as plants.
6. to proceed or originate from a specific source or cause.
7. to have as one's birth or lineage; be descended, as from a person, family, stock, etc.; come from: to spring from ancient aristocracy. 8. to rise or extend upward, as a spire.
9. to take an upward course or curve from a point of support, as an arch.
10. to come or appear suddenly, as if at a bound: An objection sprang to mind. 11. to start or rise from cover, as a pheasant, woodcock, or the like.
12. to become bent or warped, as boards.
13. to shift or work loose, as parts of a mechanism, structure, etc.: The board sprang from the fence during the storm. 14. to explode, as a mine.
15. Archaic.to begin to appear, as day, light, etc.; dawn.
—v.t. 1. to cause to spring.
2. to cause to fly back, move, or act, as by resiliency, elastic force, a spring, etc.: to spring a lock. 3. to cause to shift out of place, work loose, warp, split, or crack: Moisture sprang the board from the fence. 4. to split or crack: The ship sprang its keel on a rock. 5. to develop by or as by splitting or cracking: The boat sprang a leak. 6. to bend by force, or force in by bending, as a resilient slat or bar.
7. to stretch or bend (a spring or other resilient device) beyond its elastic tolerance: This clip has been sprung. 8. to bring out, disclose, produce, make, etc., suddenly: to spring a joke. 9. to leap over.
10. Slang.to secure the release of (someone) from confinement, as of jail, military service, or the like.
11. Naut.to move (a vessel) into or out of a berth by pulling on the offshore end of a warp made fast to the pier.
12. to explode (a mine).
13. spring for,Informal.to pay for; treat someone to.
—n. 1. a leap, jump, or bound.
2. a sudden movement caused by the release of something elastic.
3. an elastic or bouncing quality: There is a spring in his walk. 4. elasticity or resilience: This board has spring in it. 5. a structural defect or injury caused by a warp, crack, etc.
6. an issue of water from the earth, taking the form, on the surface, of a small stream or standing as a pool or small lake.
7. the place of such an issue: mineral springs. 8. a source or fountainhead of something: a spring of inspiration. 9. an elastic contrivance or body, as a strip or wire of steel coiled spirally, that recovers its shape after being compressed, bent, or stretched.
10. the season between winter and summer: in the Northern Hemisphere from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice; in the Southern Hemisphere from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice.
11. (in temperate zones) the season of the year following winter and characterized by the budding of trees, growth of plants, the onset of warmer weather, etc.
12. the first stage and freshest period: the spring of life. 13. Naut. a. warp (def. 16).
b. a line from the quarter of a vessel to an anchor on the bottom, used to hold the vessel at its mooring, broadside to the current.
14. Also called springing.Archit. a. the point at which an arch or dome rises from its support.
b. the rise or the angle of the rise of an arch.
15. Archaic.the dawn, as of day, light, etc.
—adj. 1. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or suitable for the season of spring: spring flowers. 2. resting on or containing mechanical springs.