Main-spring

mainspring

[meyn-spring]
noun
1.
the principal spring in a mechanism, as in a watch.
2.
the chief motive power; the impelling cause.

Origin:
1585–95; main1 + spring

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World English Dictionary
mainspring (ˈmeɪnˌsprɪŋ)
 
n
1.  the principal power spring of a mechanism, esp in a watch or clock
2.  the chief cause or motive of something

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