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Common Spring Season Idioms, Adages, Quotes, and Sayings

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Ben's life-long interest in language extends to the richness of its expressions, phrases, idioms, and quotations. They give it such variety!

A surprising amount of expressions, idioms, and turns of phrase have been created about the spring season over the years.

A surprising amount of expressions, idioms, and turns of phrase have been created about the spring season over the years.

In England, the spring season runs from the first day of March through the last day of May. It is a time when nature starts to awaken, slumbering trees and shrubs begin to rouse and bud, and people see increasingly brighter days and look forward with renewed optimism at the year ahead.

This article lists a number of common, spring-related idioms and adages along with their meanings. Most were generated from the impact of spring seasons on generations long past, but many of their messages are still relevant today—at least for those of us who like to celebrate the season of rebirth and renewal.

Expressions and Proverbs About Spring

This is a selection of idioms and sayings that include the word "spring" and that encapsulate the enthusiasm and revitalization it brings about each year.

Hope Springs Eternal

This idiom expresses the hope and optimism that people have that things will get better. It is said when a person has (sometimes overly) optimistic beliefs about the future.

Example: “Josh thinks he is going to scoop the jackpot in the draw this week. I guess hope springs eternal.”

Spring Is in the Air

This is a saying that describes the general feeling among people that things are improving or that exciting times are ahead. It is also used literally in reference to the first signs of the end of winter and beginning of spring.

Example: “Everyone seems upbeat and looking forward to sunnier days. I guess spring is in the air.”

Full of the Joys of Spring

To be full of the joys of spring means to be very happy and enthused. This phrase is used to describe individuals or situations that are imbued with positivity, vitality, and optimism.

Example: “Our vacation isn't for another month and a half, but little Carol is already full of the joys of spring, bless her heart.”

Spring fever: The feeling of restless ambition that accompanies the arrival of spring

Spring fever: The feeling of restless ambition that accompanies the arrival of spring

Spring Fever

This is a way of describing that feeling of restlessness and eagerness to get on with things that often accompany the close of winter and the onset of spring.

Example: “All of the anglers in my fishing club have been tying flies like mad, and it's only February—I guess they've got spring fever.”

Spring in Your Step

People who are enthusiastic and appear full of energy and vigour are often described as having a spring in their step.

Example: “Mary had a real spring in her step. She was clearly in top form and bursting at the seams with new ideas for her next performance.”

Spring Into Action

When someone reacts very quickly to a situation and begins performing necessary tasks immediately, they are often described as having sprung into action.

Example: “By the time I realized that Kenneth had fainted, Julie, who used to work as an EMT, had already sprung into action.”

Spring Has Sprung

This alliteration-laced idiom is fairly literal. It is used to remark that the spring season has arrived, and it is often said in reference to something observed in one's physical surroundings (e.g. nicer weather, new buds on trees, etc.).

Example: “Look at all the new growth on our bushes, Randall. I think it's official—spring has sprung!”

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is the ritual of cleaning and freshening up one's home after the dark and cold days of winter to get a fresh start for the new season. It is also occasionally used more figuratively to reference the cleansing of one's life (e.g. setting new goals and priorities, cutting off unproductive relationships, etc.).

Example: “As winter days draw to a close, increasing daylight hours lighten the sky, and the first signs of nature's reawakening appear. The first thing that comes to my mind is the annual spring clean. It’s something I feel obliged to do each year. It’s as if spring cannot formally begin until I have dusted away the winter feel from my home.”

Arab Spring

This term is a more recent addition to our vernacular. It refers to a series of protests and uprisings against oppressive governments and regimes across the Middle East and other parts of the Arab world in the early 2010s.

Example: “The Arab Spring was one of the first examples of mass protests both organized by and documented through social media.”

I’m No Spring Chicken

This phrase is used to indicate that one is old (or at least not young) and is thus less physically or mentally spry than they used to be.

Example: “I'm not gonna drive eight hours straight just to get there in time for the rehearsal—I'm no spring chicken. Maybe I would have done it in my 30s, but now? No way.”

Spring Forward

This refers to the act of setting one's clocks and watches ahead by one hour in spring for Daylight Saving Time (often simply called “summertime” in the UK).

Example: “When we fall back, we gain an hour of sleep, but when we spring forward, we lose one.”

Spring to mind: To arrive suddenly in one's thoughts

Spring to mind: To arrive suddenly in one's thoughts

Spring to Mind

This phrase is used to refer to something (e.g. a person, situation, idea, or memory) that has suddenly come into one's thoughts.

Example: “I was just thinking about the time we spent in college when our graduation day sprung to mind—do you remember how much it rained?”

Spring to Someone's Defence

To spring to someone's defence is to react quickly in defence of a person.

Example: “Moments after Chad's rude comment left his lips, Emily sprung to her teammate's defence, insisting that the only reason Terrence had lost possession of the ball was that he was fouled by a player on the opposing team.”

Spring Back

To spring back means to quickly recover from a setback and bounce back into action or activity.

Example: “Mere weeks after she was passed over for a promotion, Luisa sprung back and closed seven sales in two weeks, shattering her quota and wowing the new sales manager.”

Spring Forth

When something springs forth, it emerges or appears unexpectedly with a sudden burst of activity.

Example: “I was idling along at the rear of the race when I got my second wind and sprung forth into the lead, eating up the field.”

The world’s favourite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.

— Edwin Way Teale

Turns of Phrase Involving Spring Months

The quotes, phrases, and proverbs in this section involve or refer to specific spring months rather than the spring season in general.

Mad as a March Hare

To be as mad as a March hare is to be completely crazy—like a rabbit at the height of its mating season. March is a month during which many types of hares breed. During this period, they indulge in energetic and elaborate courtship.

Example: “Don't let Lenny have one sip of that bourbon—he'll go mad as a March hare!”

March Comes in Like a Lion and Goes Out Like a Lamb

This expression explains that March usually begins with inclement weather and ends with calm weather. This origin of this phrase has a tenuous link to astrology. In the book One for Sorrow, Chloe Rhodes argues that this relates to “the relative positions of constellations at the beginning and end of the month: Leo, the lion rising on the eastern horizon and Aries, the Ram (sometimes lamb) sinking on the western horizon.”

A more likely source is the 1625 writing of English John Fletcher: “I would choose March, For I would come in like a Lion. But you’d go out like a lamb when you went to hanging.”

Example: N/A (self-contained saying)

A wet March brings a sad autumn.

A wet March brings a sad autumn.

A Wet March Brings a Sad Autumn

This is an older saying related to the fact that a wet March will result in difficulty in sowing seed for an autumn crop. Sowing seeds in conditions that are too wet may result in the loss of seeds and a diminished harvest.

Example: N/A (self-contained saying)

A Dry March, a Wet April and a Cool May Fill Barn and Cellar and Bring Much Hay

This is an old agricultural saying that explains what ideal spring weather looks like with respect to crops like hay.

Example: N/A (self-contained saying)

So Many Mists in March You See, So Many Frosts in May Will Be

This is another old saying pertaining to agriculture. It was believed that mist in March foretold uncharacteristic frosts in May that could damage crops.

Example: N/A (self-contained saying)

April Fools

An April fool is a trick, joke, or prank played on someone on April first. Once the joke is complete, the phrase “April fools!” is often uttered. In the UK, newspapers and television channels are obliged to attempt to fool the public with elaborate rouses every year on April Fools' Day.

Example: “Johnny, I know this might not be what we need right now, but I've got some news—I'm pregnant . . . April fools!”

April showers bring May flowers.

April showers bring May flowers.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

This saying relating to weather lore is ancient and has been documented as far back as the mid-1500s. Showers in April are thought to herald warmer weather, so the phrase suggests that if there is sufficient rain in April, there will be a good bloom of flowers by May.

Example: N/A (self-contained saying)

April and May Make Meal for the Whole Year

This Spanish proverb explains that much of a year's food comes from agricultural work and preparation done in the spring.

Example: N/A (self-contained saying)

Cast Not a Clout Until May Is Out

This is an English saying that warns against casting aside winter clothing too early in the year. It draws its message from the fact that in Britain, it is not uncommon for icy blasts of wind to still be felt during late April and early May. “Clout” is an Old English word meaning “patch of cloth.” In later times, this term widened to include garments in general.

Example: N/A (self-contained saying)

Happy Spring!

As we leave winter weather and dark days behind, spring idioms can fill us with optimism and thoughts of renewal. Perhaps more than any other season, spring feels like a joyous time as we look to the year ahead.

Comments

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on November 25, 2019:

Thank you Kari. My favourite has to be "Cast not a clout till May is out." It is something I repeat to my now grown up children and their kids every year.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on November 24, 2019:

I enjoyed this article of springy sentiment. I can not even pick a favorite.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on November 24, 2019:

Thank you for your kind words. I find phrases and sayings on Spring to be so uplifting. They are indicative of the "feel good" factor that warming days and renewed growth brings.

Lorna Lamon on November 24, 2019:

Another interesting article - I love the idioms of Spring in particular "Hope springs eternal".It's also nice to know that countries around the world have their own sayings regarding this time of year. An enjoyable read.