from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sudden, involuntary, spasmodic muscular contraction causing severe pain, often occurring in the leg or shoulder as the result of strain or chill.
  • n. A temporary partial paralysis of habitually or excessively used muscles.
  • n. Spasmodic contractions of the uterus, such as those occurring during menstruation or labor, usually causing pain in the abdomen that may radiate to the lower back and thighs.
  • transitive v. To affect with or as if with a cramp.
  • intransitive v. To suffer from or experience cramps.
  • n. A frame with an adjustable part to hold pieces together; a clamp.
  • n. A cramp iron.
  • n. A compressing or restraining force, influence, or thing.
  • n. A confined position or part.
  • transitive v. To hold together with a cramp.
  • transitive v. To shut in so closely as to restrict the physical freedom of: were cramped in the tiny cubicle.
  • transitive v. To steer (the wheels of a vehicle) to make a turn.
  • transitive v. To jam (a wheel) by a short turn.
  • adj. Cramped.
  • idiom cramp (one's) style To restrict or prevent from free action or expression.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A painful contraction of a muscle which cannot be controlled.
  • n. A clamp for carpentry or masonry.
  • v. (of a muscle) To contract painfully and uncontrollably.
  • v. To prohibit movement or expression.
  • v. To restrain to a specific physical position, as if with a cramp.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Knotty; difficult.
  • n. That which confines or contracts; a restraint; a shackle; a hindrance.
  • n. A device, usually of iron bent at the ends, used to hold together blocks of stone, timbers, etc.; a cramp iron.
  • n. A rectangular frame, with a tightening screw, used for compressing the joints of framework, etc.
  • n. A piece of wood having a curve corresponding to that of the upper part of the instep, on which the upper leather of a boot is stretched to give it the requisite shape.
  • n. A spasmodic and painful involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles, as of the leg.
  • n. A paralysis of certain muscles due to excessive use
  • transitive v. To compress; to restrain from free action; to confine and contract; to hinder.
  • transitive v. To fasten or hold with, or as with, a cramp.
  • transitive v. to bind together; to unite.
  • transitive v. To form on a cramp.
  • transitive v. To afflict with cramp.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Contracted; strait; cramped.
  • Difficult; knotty; hard to decipher, as writing; crabbed.
  • To fasten, confine, or hold with a cramp-iron, fetter, or some similar device.
  • To fashion or shape on a cramp: as, to cramp boot-legs.
  • To confine as if in or with a cramp; hinder from free action or development; restrain; hamper; cripple.
  • To affect with cramps or spasms.
  • n. A claw; a paw.
  • n. A piece of iron bent at the ends, serving to hold together pieces of timber, stones, etc.; a clamp; a cramp-iron. See cramp-iron.
  • n. A bench-hook or holdfast.
  • n. A portable kind of iron press, having a screw at one end and a movable shoulder at the other, employed by carpenters and joiners for closely compressing the joints of frame-work.
  • n. A piece of wood having a curve corresponding to that of the upper part of the instep, on which the upper-leather of a boot is stretched to give it the requisite shape.
  • n. That which hinders motion or expansion; restraint; confinement; that which hampers.
  • n. An involuntary and painful contraction of a muscle; a variety of tonic spasm.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. affect with or as if with a cramp
  • n. a painful and involuntary muscular contraction
  • v. suffer from sudden painful contraction of a muscle
  • v. secure with a cramp
  • n. a strip of metal with ends bent at right angles; used to hold masonry together
  • v. prevent the progress or free movement of
  • n. a clamp for holding pieces of wood together while they are glued


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English crampe, from Old French, of Germanic origin.
Middle English crampe, probably from Middle Dutch, hook, cramp. Adj., probably akin to Icelandic krappr, constrained, tight, and Old High German cramf, squeezed.


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  • '...akin to Icelandic krappr, constrained, tight.'

    April 17, 2018