\ 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

Canady was brought up to the active roster to add depth to the cornerbacks unit after Jimmy Smith suffered a knee sprain in last week’s season opener against the Miami Dolphins. Daniel Oyefusi, baltimoresun.com, "Ravens cornerback Maurice Canady active for home opener vs. Cardinals," 15 Sep. 2019 Newton suffered a mid-foot sprain on Aug. 22 during a preseason game. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Panthers bypass Cam Newton on key play, fall to 0-2," 13 Sep. 2019 In March, Hill suffered an MCL sprain during a spring training start March 17. Los Angeles Times, "Rich Hill exits early with a knee injury in Dodgers’ victory over Baltimore," 12 Sep. 2019 Coach John Harbaugh said Smith has a Grade 2 sprain of the right knee. BostonGlobe.com, "Lindstrom, a former Boston College standout," 10 Sep. 2019 Van Ginkel suffered a severe ankle sprain in Week 3 against BYU and was limited for most of the season. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW players, coaches in a rush to get to opposing quarterbacks in 2019," 13 Aug. 2019 Linebacker Jarrad Davis, also questionable with a high ankle sprain, was inactive and Jahlani Tavai started in the middle. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Halftime observations: Detroit Lions bitten by special teams again, trail 10-6," 15 Sep. 2019 Jackson-Olin, which fell to 1-3, 0-2 after finishing the 2018 regular season 10-0, missed Alabama linebacker commitment Quandarrius Robinson, who is out for the next two to three weeks with a high ankle sprain, said coach Tim Vakakes. al, "Chelsea wins 3rd straight, dominates Jackson-Olin," 14 Sep. 2019 Texas finally will get some reinforcements at running back with junior Daniel Young expected to return from a high ankle sprain. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Texas’ Tom Herman and Yancy McKnight back in familiar territory at Rice," 13 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Jayson Tatum, an elite wing scorer, sprained his ankle early in the tournament and didn’t play for the rest of it. Chris Mannix, SI.com, "Jerry Colangelo on Team USA Collapse: ‘This Will Bother Me Until the 2020 Olympics’," 17 Sep. 2019 Team USA was without Jayson Tatum (sprained left ankle) in Wednesday's loss, his fourth consecutive game missed. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Behind Team USA's debacle: Five reasons U.S. national team faltered," 11 Sep. 2019 Verrett, who was limited to five games because of injuries from 2016 to 2018, sprained his ankle Aug. 7 and only recently returned to practice. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ Ahkello Witherspoon back on upswing of volatile career," 10 Sep. 2019 Jets’ Mosley sidelined New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley (pulled groin) and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams (sprained ankle) have been ruled out for their game Monday night against the Cleveland Browns . . . BostonGlobe.com, "For USA Basketball, summer ended Saturday with an 87-74 win over Poland in the seventh-place game at the World Cup in Beijing, the lowest finish ever by a US team in a major international tournament.," 15 Sep. 2019 Shah, a member of the Crescenta Valley High boys’ varsity tennis team, badly sprained his ankle stepping on a tennis ball his junior year, and the injury needed three months to heal. Andrew J. Campa, Glendale News-Press, "Heroics in no short supply for Crescenta Valley High School trio," 3 Sep. 2019 Indians left fielder Tyler Naquin was carted off the field after crashing into the wall and spraining his right knee on a catch in a 4-0 loss at Tampa Bay . . . BostonGlobe.com, "Rory McIlroy surges to within a shot of lead at European Masters," 30 Aug. 2019 Most injuries involve twisted ankles, sprained knees and pulled muscles. Ken Belson, New York Times, "Touch Football, Sold as Safer, Now Requires a Helmet," 20 Aug. 2019 Rookie running back Trayveon Williams Trayveon Williams had a walking boot on his sprained left ankle on Monday. Tyler Dragon, Cincinnati.com, "Bengals notebook: Left tackle Cordy Glenn in concussion protocol," 19 Aug. 2019

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

15 Oct 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

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