Spring phrases and idioms

Colourful flowers, blue skies, the smell of cut grass and cool rainy days are some of the many things people look forward to in spring. There are many wonderful idioms and phrases in English to talk about the four seasons in English – especially spring. 

Here are 8 phrases and idioms about spring, for you to use in English.

1. Spring clean

A spring clean is when someone thoroughly cleans a house or a room. It doesn’t necessarily need to happen in spring, but this spring idiom comes from the tradition of people cleaning their house after the dark winter months, ready for a bright and fresh springtime. 

I spent Saturday spring cleaning the house so it’s all fresh for when my parents arrive.


2. Take a rain check 

When someone takes a rain check, they postpone or cancel an arrangement. Often, the person will cancel but might want to do the plan at a later time or date. 

Can we take a rain check on meeting up today? I’ve got lots of work to get done by the end of the week, and I’m quite behind! 


3. Spring to mind 

When something springs to mind, you suddenly think of it. It’s a similar way of saying, ‘the first thing you think of’.  

What’s the first thing that springs to mind when you hear this song? 


4. Head in the clouds

If someone has their head in the clouds, they aren’t paying attention to their surroundings or what’s going on. It can also mean that the person doesn’t think realistically about things. 

I don’t know how effective of a manager he’ll be – he’s always got his head in the clouds and doesn’t really think practically. 


5. To spring something on someone 

If you spring something on someone, you surprise them or trick them with a new piece of information. It could be positive or negative. For example, if your boss tells you to work late at the last minute, or if you find out you have to bring something to a dinner party that you hadn’t prepared to take.  

The teacher sprung the homework on us at the last minute – we didn’t think we were getting any this week.


6. A social butterfly 

A lovely spring idiom is when you describe someone as a social butterfly. This is someone who likes to socialise and spend time with people. They always have plans to see friends and family, and like to move around from person to person or group to group, just like butterflies do between flowers. 

My mum’s such a social butterfly – she’s always out and about seeing people and having fun. 


7. A spring in your step 

If you have a spring in your step, you’re feeling confident and look as though you’re happy or pleased about something. You have a lot of energy, and it is noticeable. You might have a spring in your step if you find out some good news, or treat yourself to something you want, for example. 

His presentation in front of the class went better than he expected. He’s definitely got a spring in his step today!


8. Rain on my parade

If you rain on someone’s parade, you prevent someone from enjoying something or spoil a moment in time. For example, if you’re feeling pleased about something, someone might then tell you their bad news. This means they’ve rained on your parade (your happy mood or good news). 

I’m sorry to rain on your parade, but you need to turn the music down. It’s late and the neighbours are trying to sleep. 

What other spring idioms and phrases do you know? Share them with us in the comments!

You also might be interested in learning fun idioms and phrases related to dance. Learn more here. 

Match the spring idioms and phrases to their correct meaning. 

  1. Rain on my parade 
  2. Spring to mind 
  3. A social butterfly 
  4. A spring in your step 
  5. Head in the clouds 
  6. To spring something on someone 
  7. A spring clean 
  8. Take a rain check

A. Someone who doesn’t think in a realistic way.
B. Someone who loves, and is always, spending time with people.
C. When someone cancels or moves plans.
D. When you suddenly think of something.
When you suddenly tell someone something or surprise them.
When you stop someone from enjoying a happy moment.
G. When you do a deep clean of your house or room.
H. When you’re noticeably happy or pleased about something. 


  1. F
  2. D
  3. B
  4. H
  5. A
  6. E
  7. G
  8. C

Billie Jago is an ELT writer and teacher trainer, specialising in digital & assessments. She is the founder of the professional development podcast ELTcpd and co-founder of the digital ELT content agency, otterelt.

Author: Oxford University Press ELT

Every year we help millions of people around the world to learn English. As a department of the University of Oxford, we further the University’s objective of excellence in education by publishing proven and tested language learning books, eBooks, learning materials, and educational technologies.

4 thoughts

  1. Thank you very much for this post of Spring phrases and idioms. I have used and been learning myself from your earlier posts. My students like idiom practice very much. Your posts are especially helpful as they include a small number of items well defined and illustrated. It’s great to have your posts for reference and practice. This post will make a real spring day for us in Warsaw.

  2. All things are saying in above learning points it is good to learn to new learners and teachers.

  3. Spring chicken sprung to my mind! It means young person. E.g. it takes long time to memorise new words because I am not a spring chicken! Does it work? I’m an English learner.

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