mainspring

main|spring [ˈmeınsprıŋ] n
1.) the mainspring of sth
the most important reason or influence that makes something happen
Christian faith was the mainspring of Peter's life.
Small companies are the mainspring of the British economy.
2.) the most important spring in a watch or clock

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • mainspring — main spring , n. The principal or most important spring in a piece of mechanism, especially the moving spring of a watch or clock or the spring in a gunlock which impels the hammer. Hence: (Fig.) The chief or most powerful motive; the efficient… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mainspring — index cause (reason), derivation, reason (basis) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • mainspring — (n.) 1590s, of watches, clocks, etc., from MAIN (Cf. main) (adj.) + SPRING (Cf. spring) (n.3). Figurative use from 1690s …   Etymology dictionary

  • mainspring — ► NOUN 1) the principal spring in a watch, clock, etc. 2) a prime source of motivation or support …   English terms dictionary

  • mainspring — [mān′spriŋ΄] n. 1. the principal spring in a clock, watch, or other mechanism; driving spring, whose steady uncoiling keeps the mechanism running 2. the chief motive or cause …   English World dictionary

  • Mainspring — For the 2007 novel by Jay Lake, see Mainspring (novel). An uncoiled modern watch mainspring …   Wikipedia

  • mainspring — [[t]me͟ɪnsprɪŋ[/t]] mainsprings N COUNT: usu sing, usu the N of n If you say that an idea, emotion, or other factor is the mainspring of something, you mean that it is the most important reason or motive for that thing. [WRITTEN] My life has been …   English dictionary

  • mainspring — noun (C) 1 the mainspring of/for the most important reason or influence that makes something happen: Romantic love had been the mainspring of Augustini s poetry 2 the most important spring in a watch or clock …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • mainspring — UK [ˈmeɪnˌsprɪŋ] / US noun [countable] Word forms mainspring : singular mainspring plural mainsprings formal the most important cause or reason why something happens …   English dictionary

  • mainspring — noun a) The principal spring of a clockwork mechanism, that drives it by uncoiling. 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. b) The most… …   Wiktionary

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