A literal wellspring is a place where a stream or river pops up from the ground.
Figuratively, the wellspring of something is an abundant source of it.
In other words, a wellspring is a source or supply of something that is rich, abundant, and maybe even infinite.
Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one wellspring or multiple wellsprings.)
Other forms: "Wellsprings" is the plural.
Some people prefer a hyphen: "well-spring(s)."
How to use it:
Usually we say that one thing is the wellspring of another thing: "Freedom is the wellspring of happiness." "This school is a wellspring of talent for the world of professional sports." "Young children are a wellspring of fascinating questions." And you may be familiar with this statement from the book of Proverbs: "Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it."
You can leave out the idea of a certain thing being a wellspring, and just talk about a wellspring of something in general: "In her heart is a wellspring of love for animals."
Take the metaphor a little further, if you like, by tapping into a wellspring of something, thinking there may be an undiscovered wellspring of something deep beneath something else, wondering if a wellspring of something is drying up, etc. "After a period of writer's block, he suddenly tapped into a wellspring of ideas."
The period between the two World Wars was a wellspring of excellent (but depressing) literature.
Late at night, my restless mind is a wellspring of ideas, very few of which seem as good in the morning.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "wellspring" means when you can explain it without saying "rich, abundant source" or "place where something gushes out."
Think of a website you love to visit again and again, or a publication you like to read regularly, and fill in the blanks: "(Website or publication) is a wellspring of (a certain kind of information or entertainment.)"
Example: "Pinterest is a wellspring of creative ideas for entertaining little kids on long plane trips."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing New Word Order! It's a card game that I recently created; it involves figuring out the order in which certain words and phrases entered our language. I'll give you several words and/or phrases, and you'll use your knowledge of history, slang, technology, popular culture, fashion, psychology, etc. to put them into chronological order. I'll post the right answer to each question on the following day. If you like this game, you can download and print it to play with your family and friends. (It's free.)
Remember, you don't need to come up with the actual years that the words entered the dictionary--just try to get the words in the correct time order.
Try these today:
Captcha, blast-off, & biohazard.
A Point Well Made:
Plato: "For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories."
1. The opposite of WELLSPRING is
2. Try as they might, no essayist, educator, or preacher will be able to _____ the wellspring of affection that young people have for their electronic devices.
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.