\ ˈsprān How to pronounce sprain (audio) \

Definition of sprain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sudden or violent twist or wrench of a joint with stretching or tearing of ligaments
2 : a sprained condition


sprained; spraining; sprains

Definition of sprain (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to injure by a sudden or severe twist

Examples of sprain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Phoenix was without Devin Booker (right hand sprain), T.J. Warren (left knee inflammation), Josh Jackson (right quad contusion), Marquese Chriss (hip soreness), Elfrid Payton (left knee) and Alan Williams (right knee soreness). Scott Bordow, azcentral, "Thompson, Warriors beat Suns for 15th straight time," 8 Apr. 2018 Gasol returns: Had LaMarcus Aldridge not succumbed to a right ankle sprain in Wednesday’s loss to New Orleans, Pau Gasol might have opted to give his own knee injury additional rest. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Spurs notebook: Rookie White uses G-League to his advantage," 3 Mar. 2018 Nene had missed two games with a sore Left Achilles, two with a right foot sprain, one with a right shoulder strain, one with a left corneal abrasion and six with the bruised knee. Houston Chronicle, "Rockets' Nene remains in a groove despite missing time with injuries," 22 Jan. 2018 Injuries: Pelicans guard Ian Clark returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with a right ankle sprain. William Guillory, NOLA.com, "Pelicans clinch playoff berth with win over Clippers," 9 Apr. 2018 Pushing those limits too far can result in ruptures, sprains, and overall intense back pain. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Does 'AGT' Star Sofie Dossi Have a Spine? An Investigation.," 7 Jan. 2019 Tagovailoa underwent surgery after suffering a high ankle sprain in the SEC championship game. Brian Costa, WSJ, "Alabama Beats Oklahoma, Will Face Clemson for College Football National Title," 30 Dec. 2018 Monk missed summer league a year ago as a rookie, and several months after that, with an ankle sprain suffered before the draft. Rick Bonnell, charlotteobserver, "'He played so well.' Charlotte Hornets lose Malik Monk again for NBA Summer League.," 7 July 2018 In order to bring Beckham off the 60-day DL and make room on the 40-man roster, infielder Luis Sardiñas was added to the 60-day DL with an ankle sprain. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles notes: Right-hander Dylan Bundy rolled ankle on bases, next start in jeopardy," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Other notes Redshirt freshman defensive back Terry Petry will undergo surgery after spraining an ankle earlier this week. Aaron Reiss, kansascity, "Barry Odom hopes Mizzou's spring game is 'boring,' but here are reasons to watch | The Kansas City Star," 12 Apr. 2018 But the senior forward didn't play Sunday night in Purdue 's Big Ten game against Penn State at Mackey Arena, sidelined with a sprained left ankle suffered in Saturday's practice. Michael Osipoff, Post-Tribune, "Next man up: With Vincent Edwards out, Carsen Edwards helps Purdue end slide," 18 Feb. 2018 Smith sprained his ankle late in Missouri’s loss at Arkansas on Jan. 23 and missed the next six games. Joe Walljasper, The Seattle Times, "No. 4 Kentucky beats Missouri 66-58," 19 Feb. 2019 After all, the two-time MVP sprained his knee in March and missed the entire first round of the playoffs. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "After Being Held in Check in Houston, Stephen Curry Eyes Breakthrough in Return to Oakland," 19 May 2018 That's correct, friends: Brianna made it through the stones and lasted approximately two minutes before face-planting down a hill and spraining her ankle. Mehera Bonner, Harper's BAZAAR, "Outlander Just Aired the Best Episode of the Season So Far," 17 Dec. 2018 Then, catcher Carlos Perez sprains his right ankle and Trevino is forced into action. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Trevino's week started with a baby. It ended with an assist from an angel," 17 June 2018 Three days later, point guard Matthew Dellavedova sprained his right ankle. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks season in review: Progress made but it wasn't enough," 6 May 2018 Stove and Hastings each tore an ACL in practice, Brahms broke his leg, Kim sprained his ankle, and defensive back Jordyn Peters sustained a minor knee injury. Tom Green, AL.com, "6 things to watch for during Auburn's A-Day spring game," 6 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sprain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sprain


1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1622, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sprain


origin unknown

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Statistics for sprain

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for sprain

The first known use of sprain was in 1601

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More Definitions for sprain



English Language Learners Definition of sprain

: to injure (a joint) by twisting it in a sudden and painful way


\ ˈsprān How to pronounce sprain (audio) \

Kids Definition of sprain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an injury that results from the sudden or severe twisting of a joint with stretching or tearing of ligaments


sprained; spraining

Kids Definition of sprain (Entry 2 of 2)

: to injure by a sudden or severe twist She fell and sprained her ankle.


\ ˈsprān How to pronounce sprain (audio) \

Medical Definition of sprain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a sudden or violent twist or wrench of a joint causing the stretching or tearing of ligaments and often rupture of blood vessels with hemorrhage into the tissues also : the condition resulting from a sprain that is usually marked by swelling, inflammation, hemorrhage, and discoloration — compare strain entry 3 sense b

Medical Definition of sprain (Entry 2 of 2)

: to weaken (a joint or ligament) by sudden and violent twisting or wrenching : stretch (ligaments) injuriously without dislocation of the joint

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More from Merriam-Webster on sprain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sprain

Spanish Central: Translation of sprain

Nglish: Translation of sprain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sprain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sprain

Comments on sprain

What made you want to look up sprain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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