cramp

1 of 4

noun (1)

1
: a painful involuntary spasmodic contraction of a muscle
2
: a temporary paralysis of muscles from overuse compare writer's cramp
3
a
: sharp abdominal pain
usually used in plural
b
: persistent and often intense though dull lower abdominal pain associated with dysmenorrhea
usually used in plural
crampy adjective

cramp

2 of 4

noun (2)

1
a
: a usually iron device bent at the ends and used to hold timbers or blocks of stone together
b
: clamp
2
a
: something that confines : shackle
b
: the state of being confined

cramp

3 of 4

verb

cramped; cramping; cramps

transitive verb

1
: to affect with or as if with a cramp or cramps
2
a
: confine, restrain
was cramped in the tiny apartment
b
: to restrain from free expression
used especially in the phrase cramp one's style
My mother wasn't one to do much cooking. It cramped her style.Lonnée Hamilton
3
: to fasten or hold with a cramp

intransitive verb

: to be affected with cramps

cramp

4 of 4

adjective

1
: hard to understand or figure out
cramp law terms
cramp handwriting
2
: being cramped
a cramp corner

Example Sentences

Verb Writing for such a long time may cramp your hand. His leg was cramping so badly he could hardly move it. The new regulations may cramp the company's financial growth.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English crampe, from Anglo-French, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle Dutch crampe; akin to Old High German krampf bent

Noun (2)

Middle English crampe, from Middle Dutch

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1674, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cramp was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near cramp

Cite this Entry

“Cramp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cramp. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

cramp

1 of 2 noun
1
: a sudden painful involuntary tightening of muscle
2
: sharp pain in the abdomen
usually used in plural
crampy adjective

cramp

2 of 2 verb
1
: to affect with or as if with cramps
2
a
: to hold back from free movement : confine
felt cramped in the tiny room
b
: to hold back from free action or expression : hamper
used especially in the phrase cramp one's style

Medical Definition

cramp

1 of 2 noun
1
: a painful involuntary spasmodic contraction of a muscle
a cramp in the leg
2
: a temporary paralysis of muscles from overuse see writer's cramp
3
a
: sharp abdominal pain
usually used in plural
b
: persistent and often intense though dull lower abdominal pain associated with dysmenorrhea
usually used in plural

cramp

2 of 2 transitive verb
: to affect with or as if with a cramp or cramps
gout cramping his limbs

intransitive verb

: to suffer from cramps

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