In one leap, she sprang up on her desk, nimble like a cat.

In one spring, she sprang up on her desk, nimble like a cat.

In one bound, she sprang up on her desk, nimble like a cat.

I'm trying to figure out which of these words is best to use, especially when I want to emphasize that it's taking just one step to get from the floor to the desk. Are they all essentially the same in that regard, or would any of these words not be good to use in this context?

  • I think its already implied by using "sprung up on her desk" that its in one action (can't imagine otherwise). So in my opinion the first phrase "In one leap" etc. is not necessary. "In one spring" is definitely repetative. I would put in a phrase that adds additional or contasting information, for example "From out of nowhere, she sprang up on her desk, nimble like a cat."
    – user485
    Mar 30, 2013 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


To me, leap, bound and spring have slightly different emphasis compared with the more neutral noun jump. At least to my ears:

  • a leap emphasises the distance, or gymnastic ability of the jump.

  • a bound emphasises the energy or perhaps the enthusiasm of the jump.

  • a spring emphasises the speed or the unexpectedness of the jump.

So for example, I might use them in the following sentences:

The cat leapt into the air, and landed on the next door neighbour's balcony.

When Joe came home, he was met with Bruno the dog, who bounded through the hallway and jumped up to greet him.

When Mary stepped on the cat's tail, he sprang up and scratched her.

In the context of your sentence, where the emphasis is on the nimbleness and perhaps distance of the jump, I would therefore choose leap, although I would avoid mixing leap with sprung, instead preferring a more neutral noun to go with the verb leapt or a more neutral verb to go with the noun leap:

In one leap, she jumped up on her desk, nimble like a cat.

In one quick movement, she leapt up on her desk, nimble like a cat.

  • Oh I'm sorry my question wasn't clear. I wanted suggestions for 'in a single jump' in the first part of the sentence, not the verb. "In one leap/bound/spring"
    – Soulz
    Mar 30, 2013 at 9:57
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    @Soulz: When an answer isn't quite what you were looking for, that usually means you've asked a question with not enough detail. When you discover that happens, you need to fix your question, and not merely leave a comment to the answerer. Otherwise, many others will come here, read the question, and go down the same rabbit trail.
    – J.R.
    Mar 30, 2013 at 11:34
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    @Soulz: Even with those two additional sentences, it's still not clear what you're asking about, and your comment here was more enlightening than your additional sentences there. I've take the liberty to make an edit of my own to help you understand what I'm trying to say. Also, it wouldn't hurt to add a few remarks about what you found in a dictionary before you asked the question. That's something often considered to be a courtesy to include, if not a breach of etiquette to omit. The more effort you put into your questions, the more they will be appreciated and taken seriously.
    – J.R.
    Mar 30, 2013 at 12:01
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    @J.R. Good point. I will keep your words in mind. Thanks :)
    – Soulz
    Mar 31, 2013 at 2:50
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    Purely as a side note, I'd recommend using "as nimble as a cat" in place of "nimble like a cat". See the Ngram books.google.com/ngrams/… "Nimble like" is a rare construction. Even better, I think, would be to use "catlike", as in "In one catlike leap,...". Mar 8, 2015 at 0:46

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