spring fever

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English[edit]

Noun[edit]

spring fever (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) A feeling of invigoration and restlessness associated with the arrival of the warm weather and renewal of nature in the spring season.
    • 1896, Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, Detective, ch 1:
      It's spring fever. . . . And when you've got it, you want—oh, you don't quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! It seems to you that mainly what you want is to get away; get away from the same old tedious things you're so used to seeing and so tired of, and set something new.
    • 1922, Zane Grey, The Call of the Canyon, ch. 10:
      The air was warm and balmy, carrying that subtle current which caused the mild madness of spring fever.
    • 2002 April 11, Thomas Lueck, "Police Horse Bolts and Leads Officers on Chase," New York Times (retrieved 6 Apr 2009):
      Was it a case of spring fever, or just a horse longing for its stable? Whatever the reason, one of the city's normally well-disciplined police horses bolted yesterday, injuring its rider and leading several patrol cars on a milelong chase through Lower Manhattan.
  2. (idiomatic) A feeling of laziness or listlessness associated with the arrival of the warm, comfortable weather of the spring season.
    • 1867, Martha Finley, Elsie Dinsmore, ch. 3:
      "Yes, missus," replied the negro, scratching his head, "de horses am berry lazy; spec dey's got de spring fever."
    • 1910, Christopher Morley, "The Club in Hoboken" in Plum Pudding:
      Endymion and the Secretary, after sitting on a pier-end watching some barges, . . . were stricken with the very crisis of spring fever and lassitude. They considered the possibility of hiring one of the soldiers' two-tiered beds for the afternoon.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Spring fever is one of the rare terms which functions as its own antonym – a contranym – capable of meaning either invigoration or listlessness.

See also[edit]