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From the movie Moon: (YouTube clip)

Gerty: There is no damage to the exterior shell.

Sam: Well, it's not that I don't believe you, Gerty, but I mean, you know, this thing is springing leaks like an Acme fire hose. You need to let me go outside and fix this problem, Gerty.

Gerty: I can't let you go outside, Sam.

Sam: Gerty, if you don't let me go outside, we can't fix this leak.

Gerty: I'm not permitted to let you go outside.

Sam: Just let... We'll keep it between you and me. Okay, pal? This thing is springing gas, let's go. Come on.

The phrases "springing leaks", "springing gas" strike me as strange. I understand "springing gas" means "emitting gas", but as far as I have checked the dictionaries (OED, M-W, Lexico, etc.), "spring" doesn't have the meaning of "give off" or "emit". I thought it could be "spewing gas", but the audio and subtitles both point to "springing gas".

Also if "spring" means spew, emit in "springing gas", it wouldn't make much sense in "springing leaks". What does "spring" mean here? Also why is leak in the plural? A leak is a hole or an instance of leaking. There is only one instance of leaking as a resulting of one hole, so why "springing leaks"?

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To "spring a leak" is a phrase meaning to begin to let liquid pass through a crack or hole in a boat or vessel. Its use in connection with leaks of air or gas is slightly non-standard, but not so much that it is incorrect.

spring a leak

if a boat or a container springs a leak, it begins to let liquid in or out through a crack or hole.

Spring a leak

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