9 English Spring idioms 

These nine spring idioms are all very common in English. In spring, flowers and leaves suddenly burst open, often in vibrant colors.  This type of quick and unexpected movement is reflected in many of these spring idiom examples.

Remember, idioms are expressions for a group of words together. The entire group of words all together have a fixed or set meaning that is different than if you looked up the words separately in the dictionary.

[Also, I've created an infographic to help you understand what idioms are.]

A flower-decorated infographic with definitions and sentence examples of the 9 spring-related idioms listed on this page.

Understanding idioms with the word "spring"

In English, the word "spring" can refer to more than just the season. It can be both a noun and a verb.

As a verb, "to spring" means to move or jump suddenly and powerfully forward or upward. As a noun, there are several meanings of spring. Here, we use "spring" to refer to the season and to describe a coil spring, like the one found in a mattress or a watch, suddenly jumps up when it's released.

Just like a coil spring, many things in nature "spring" to life during the season of spring. Flowers bloom, trees sprout new leaves, and animals become more active. The term "spring" for the season comes from the idea of nature springing back to life after winter.

Animated image of a coil spring jumping and a flower blossoming, illustrating the dual meaning of 'spring' as both a mechanical action and a seasonal bloom.

Spring, Sprang, Sprung: The Leap of a Verb

"Spring" is an action verb that changes form as it leaps through time:

  • Spring is the simple present tense: "Flowers spring from the ground in April."
  • Sprang is the simple past tense: "The cat sprang onto the windowsill yesterday."
  • Sprung is the past participle: "The trap had sprung before we got there."

Just like a spring coils and uncoils, the verb changes its shape with each tense.

More spring idioms sentence examples

It can be very helpful to read several example sentences when you learn a new idiom. Below, you'll find more examples for each idiom from the info-graphic:

spring into action:  to suddenly start doing something.

  • Watch my kids spring into action to the do their homework as soon as they hear their father's car pull into the garage.
  • I'd already sprung into action to do CPR before the emergency medics arrived in the ambulance.
  • The off duty police officer sprang into action when the robber entered the restaurant.

spring fever:  a feeling of restlessness after a long, cold winter and there is excitement for the new season.

  • I really have spring fever this year and cannot wait until it's nice enough outside to take the boat out on the lake.   
  • When I became a professor I was surprised to see that even graduate students get spring fever and stop coming to class as the weather warms up.

a spring in one's step:  a cheerful attitude, positive mood and enthusiasm (which can be seen in the way you have a little bounce as you take steps while walking).

  • She's had a spring in her step ever since she got a boyfriend.
  • Getting straight A's in school will certainly put a spring in your step.
  • When you walk into the interview put a little spring in your step so the panel will think you are confident and enthusiastic about the job.

spring to mind:  to suddenly think of something.

  • When I think of the 80s, big hair, the Rubik's cube, Atari, shoulder pads and Duran Duran spring to mind.
  • "Hot dogs for breakfast?"  "Sorry, honey, it was the first thing that sprang to mind."
  • The psychiatrist asked me what springs to mind when I get angry with my wife.

spring to life:  to suddenly start doing something or to become more alive.

  • All my coworkers spring to life whenever the owner visits the factory.
  • Our dog sleeps all day except when the mailman comes and then he springs to life, ready to bark and attack.
  • I was worried my plant had died but it sprang to life when I watered it.

spring something on someone:  to surprise someone (or trick someone).

  • Do you really think it's wise to spring your wedding proposal on her at work in front of all of her colleagues?
  • It's not fair that my boss always springs her work on me so she can leave early.

spring to someone's defense:  to immediately defend someone from verbal or physical attack.

  • When the thief grabbed my purse another passenger on the bus sprang to my defense  and tackled him at the door before he could escape.
  • I just sat there trying to explain the figures to the client until finally my boss arrived and sprang to my defense.

spring to one's feet:  to quickly stand up.

  • I was sleeping when the national anthem started so my girlfriend kicked my leg and I sprang to my feet.
  • When they asked for volunteers to get a makeover, I sprang to my feet and yelled to try to get their attention first.

spring back:  to quickly recover from something.

  • Don't worry, you're 22 years old. Your figure will spring back after you have the baby.
  • I though I'd spring back  after the operation but there have been a lot of complications and I will not be able to return to work for another 6-8 weeks.

Related spring vocabulary

Woman with spring allergies holding a tissue - Click for easy vocabulary help at OysterEnglish.com.

Speaking of spring and beautiful tree blossoms and flowers, the season and cause people some difficulties if they have allergies.

Click here for a short lesson on spring allergies and expand your vocabulary even more.

Get our free idioms in pictures ebook

You might like these other idiom infographics

Want to learn more idioms? Signup for my newsletter and receive free lessons, English study advice and information to take your English to the next level.

  1. Home
  2.  ›
  3. Main Idioms List
  4.  ›
  5. Idiom: spring idioms