Various forms of the word spring are found in many Germanic languages and can be traced back to the ancient root sprengh, meaning "rapid movement."
In Old English, springan meant "to leap" or "to burst forth." In the 15th and 16th centuries, such expressions as spring of the leaf, spring of the year and spring-time came into use to describe the season after winter and before summer—the period of the year when new growth "burst forth." In time, these expressions were shortened to simply spring.
Part of speech
The word spring can be used
- as a noun: I can’t wait for spring to arrive!
- as a modifier: The spring schedule will be posted in March.
As a season, spring is written with a lower case s.
- The first day of spring is traditionally March 21.
You should capitalize the word spring
- when it begins a sentence: Spring is the busiest season of the year for gardeners.
- when it is personified: "The snow melted in Spring’s warm breath."
- when it is part of a title: Have you read George Woodcock’s book Northern Spring: The Flowering of Canadian Literature?
- when it is part of a proper noun: Ottawans and tourists alike enjoy the capital’s annual Festival of Spring.
Expressions related to spring
Since spring holds the promise of rebirth and joy, expressions related to spring are all about youth, growth and new life. Here are a few popular ones:
- spring fever
- the feeling of vitality or restlessness brought on by the arrival of warm spring weather
- Spring forward, fall back.
- an expression used in reference to Daylight Saving Time to help people remember to set their clocks forward in the spring and back in the fall
- Spring is in the air.
- Spring has arrived or is just around the corner.
- springtime of one’s life
- Life is sometimes compared to the seasons, so the springtime of one’s life stands for one’s youth or early years.
- to be full of the joys of spring
- an expression used in a humorous sense, meaning “to be very happy; to be enthusiastic”
- to be no spring chicken
- to be past one’s youth
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” —Margaret Atwood
© Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2017
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