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spring (one) (from some place)
To cause or help one to escape or be released from jail or some other confinement. An elaborate conspiracy had been orchestrated to spring the mob boss from prison. His wealthy parents had to come down to the county courthouse and spring him yet again.
spring a leak
To suddenly begin leaking liquid or gas into or out of a vessel. The tire is already flat, even though I just pumped it back up—it must have sprung a leak. By the time we realized we had sprung a leak, there was already two feet of water at the bottom of the boat. If any of these containers spring a leak, it'll be very costly to repair.
spring at (someone or something)
1. To leap or pounce in the direction of someone or something. The attacker sprang at her, but she managed to incapacitate him with a punch to the throat. The cat sprang at the curtains and got its claws stuck in them.
2. To choose or avail of someone or something with great alacrity or enthusiasm. I sprang at the opportunity to work with one of my favorite musicians. Online dating is actually a great way to meet new people, but you need to be prudent when it comes to actually setting up dates—don't just spring at every person who sends you a request.
1. Literally, to recoil, rebound, or leap back to an original position or location. When you release this little lever, the handle springs back to a neutral position. The cat sprang back when I started walking toward it. I sprang back to my spot when I noticed my teacher looking in our direction.
2. To recover completely from illness or injury very quickly. I'm sorry to hear you're so run down with the flu—I hope you spring back soon! I was amazed at how quickly my mom sprang back from her hip replacement.
spring for (something)
1. To pay for something expensive, especially as a treat for oneself or someone else. I decided to spring for the new video game as a reward to myself for doing so well on my exam. Janet is springing for a trip to Disney World for her family this summer.
2. To leap, dash, or dart toward something. I sprang for the door so that my wife wouldn't see the gift I was having delivered. The cat keeps springing for the dangling cord used to draw the blinds.
1. Literally, or a liquid, to gush out of some point or place. Oil sprang forth from the spot where my pickaxe had struck the earth. Water will spring forth if you turn this knob counterclockwise.
2. By extension, to come into existence from some point of origin, especially quickly, suddenly, or voluminously, like water from a spring. I had no idea what I was going to say during my speech, but the words just seemed to spring forth. All sorts of interesting and exciting ideas sprang forth during our developers' conference. Once the investment funds began springing forth, we knew that our business had a chance at success.
spring from (someone, something, or some place)
To originate in or result from some person, place, or thing; to be engendered in or by someone, something, or some place. Our frustration springs from your unwillingness to take these criticisms seriously. My fear of water springs from the time my brother nearly drowned when we were kids. Our most interesting and exciting ideas spring from these conferences.
spring into action
To begin doing something or become active suddenly and very quickly. Firefighters need to be able to spring into action at a moment's notice. If any movement is detected once this sensor is activated, the building's security measures will spring into action.
1. To leap, pounce, or dart onto someone or something. The dogs sprang on the sofa as soon as they were inside the house. I love watching the kids spring on Sarah when she comes home from work.
2. To tell, present, or disclose something to someone that they were not expecting. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "spring" and "on." I'm springing a trip to Barcelona on my wife for her birthday. The boss sprang several huge changes to the project on me at the last minute.
spring out at (someone or something)
To emerge (from something) and leap or pounce in the direction of someone or something. The attacker sprang out at her from the shadows, but she managed to incapacitate him with a punch to the throat. The mouse sprang out at bits of food that feel in front of its mousehole.
spring out of (something)
1. To issue forth from something in a constant gush or stream. Oil began springing out of the spot where my pickaxe struck the ground.
2. To leap or pounce out of something. The kids sprang out of the house and jumped into her arms the moment she got out of the car.
3. To emerge, develop, or come into being out of some source or point of origin. The idea for the product sprang out of a need I recognized in poorer parts of the world. After the company went bankrupt, a new business sprang out of its ashes, helmed by many of the same executives.
spring to (one's) defense
To begin defending one very quickly or abruptly. I appreciate the thought, but I don't need you springing to my defense every time someone starts arguing with me. Thankfully, a group of people in the bar sprang to her defense when the man started assaulting her. The boss singled out Jonathan when he started criticizing the progress of the project, so I sprang to his defense.
spring to (one's) feet
To quickly or abruptly assume a standing position. The kids sprang to their feet the moment I walked in the room, so I knew they were up to something bad. We all sprang to our feet to applaud the amazing performance.
spring to attention
To quickly or hurriedly assume a military posture in which one stands with one's body erect, one's heels together, one's arms at one's sides, and one's eyes facing forward. We all sprang to attention when Admiral Holt entered the barracks.
spring to life
1. To become lively or active. I'm not one of those people who just springs to life when my alarm goes off—I need to start my day with a lot of coffee.
2. To come into existence. This idea didn't just spring to life when I started writing it down—I'd been thinking about it for years.
spring to mind
To suddenly or immediately appear, materialize, or come to the forefront in one's mind. A: "What would you like to have for dinner?" B: "I'm not sure, nothing's really springing to mind." When it comes to crime thrillers, he's not a writer who springs to most people's minds, but his books are edgy, brilliant page turners.
1. To rise up very quickly and suddenly. Tommy sprang up from behind the sofa to surprise me. Our heads all sprang up when the boss mentioned potential layoffs.
2. To appear, arise, or become available very suddenly. Problems started springing up as soon as the software went live. The next page should spring up in a moment, just give it a second to load. Cafés and boutique shops have been springing up all over this part of town in recent months.
spring up like mushrooms
To increase in number suddenly and rapidly (as mushrooms often do). Even though I'm constantly tending to my garden, the weeds just spring up like mushrooms nonetheless. I thought I only had a transmission problem, but other issues with the car are now springing up like mushrooms.
spring back (to some place)
to jump, bounce, or recoil back to a place. The cat sprang back to its original place on the top of the table. The lid sprang back to a closed position.
spring into action
Fig. to suddenly begin moving or doing something. As soon as the boss came in the door, everyone sprang into action. Every morning, I jump out of bed and spring into action.
spring something on someone
1. to surprise someone with something. I hate to spring this on you at the last moment, but I will need some money to travel on. Please don't spring any other demands on me.
2. to pull a trick on someone. Let me tell you about the trick I sprang on Sally. What are you going to spring on her this time?
spring to attention
to move quickly to assume the military posture of attention. The recruit sprang to attention.
spring to life
Fig. to become suddenly alive or more alive. The party sprang to life after midnight. The city sprang to life at dawn.
to appear or develop suddenly; to sprout, as with a seedling. We knew it was really spring when all the flowers sprang up. It seems as if the tulips sprang up overnight. The dog's ears sprang up when the refrigerator opened.
spring (up)on (someone, something, or an animal)
to jump on someone, something, or an animal; to pounce on someone, something, or an animal. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) The lion sprang upon him and knocked him down. The cat sprang on the mouse and captured it.
spring a leak(of a boat or container) develop a leak.
The expression was originally a nautical one, referring to the timbers of a wooden ship springing out of position and so letting in water.
spring a ˈleak(of a boat, roof, container, etc.) start to let water in: The boat sprang a leak halfway across the lake.
To recover quickly and completely: The softball player sprang back quickly after her injury.
To present or disclose something to someone unexpectedly or suddenly: They sprang the news on all their friends that they were having a baby. The company president sprang on us the plan to lay people off.
1. To move suddenly upward on or as if on a spring: The box opened and the puppet sprang up. The contestants sprang up from the crowd when their names were called.
2. To appear or come into being quickly: New shopping malls were springing up rapidly on what was once farmland.
spring a leak
To starting leak a fluid suddenly: The boat sprang a leak. My balloon has sprung a leak.