\ ˈsprān \

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

Golden State didn't have Stephen Curry, still recovering from left MCL sprain, Andre Iguodola (left knee soreness) and Patrick McCaw (lumbar spine contusion). Scott Bordow, azcentral, "Thompson, Warriors beat Suns for 15th straight time," 8 Apr. 2018 The Pistons moved to 5-1 since point guard Reggie Jackson returned from a right sprain with a 115-109 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons use balanced attack to nip New York Knicks, 115-109," 31 Mar. 2018 Injuries included broken legs, neck sprains and concussions. Alexandria Hein, Fox News, "Girl, 4, needs surgery after trampoline park accident, parents say," 27 Aug. 2018 Jonathan Cooper tore a biceps tendon and needs season-ending surgery; Tony Bergstrom will miss at least two games with a high ankle sprain. Howard Fendrich, The Seattle Times, "Redskins coach Jay Gruden says team ‘discussed’ Kaepernick," 5 Dec. 2018 Still out Magic rookie forward Jonathan Isaac missed his second consecutive game because of a left ankle sprain. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Magic hold out Nikola Vucevic against Mavericks," 4 Apr. 2018 It was diagnosed as an ulnar collateral ligament sprain. John Fay, Cincinnati.com, "Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani takes a healthy first step with a two-inning scoreless outing," 27 Feb. 2018 Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese two-way sensation whose brilliant performance as a pitcher and a hitter has captivated the baseball universe, has a grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Angels’ Shohei Ohtani Has Elbow Injury That Might Require Tommy John Surgery," 8 June 2018 SUBSCRIBE TODAY Miami Heat's Tyler Johnson talks about not having to miss any games following an ankle sprain Thursday. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "Here's why this Heat player sees the NBA playoffs differently after Miami's quick exit | Miami Herald," 15 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Eventually, the girl saw an orthopedic surgeon, who said her arm was fractured and her ankle was sprained, the warrants state. Anneclaire Stapleton, CNN, "Dozens of girls still in care facility after allegations of sexual, physical abuse surface, DA says," 17 May 2018 Saladino injured: Less than a week after becoming Milwaukee's starting shortstop, Tyler Saladino is headed to the DL himself after spraining his ankle in the third inning. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers starter Zach Davies is still searching for success in his return from the disabled list," 29 May 2018 Entering his junior season, Sampson had a chance to play a major role for new coach Will Wade but after badly spraining his ankle in the Maui Invitational against Notre Dame, Sampson never quite got back into a groove again. Andrew Lopez, NOLA.com, "See how LSU's Brandon Sampson tries to help NBA Draft status at combine," 23 May 2018 Warren, still in pain after spraining his left knee against Golden State on Saturday, has been ruled out. Scott Bordow, azcentral, "Game Day: Suns' T.J. Warren out, Devin Booker game-time decision against Pistons," 20 Mar. 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

5 Feb 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 \

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 \

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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