mainspring

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From main +‎ spring.

Noun[edit]

mainspring (plural mainsprings)

  1. The principal spring of a clockwork mechanism, that drives it by uncoiling.
    • 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
      He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away.
  2. (figuratively) The most important reason for something.
    My daughter is the mainspring of my life.

Translations[edit]