Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An involuntary, spasmodic muscle contraction causing severe pain.
  • noun A temporary partial paralysis of habitually or excessively used muscles.
  • noun 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.
  • intransitive verb To affect with or as if with a cramp.
  • intransitive verb To suffer from or experience cramps.
  • noun A frame with an adjustable part to hold pieces together; a clamp.
  • noun A cramp iron.
  • noun A compressing or restraining force, influence, or thing.
  • noun A confined position or part.
  • transitive verb To hold together with a cramp.
  • transitive verb To shut in so closely as to restrict the physical freedom of.
  • transitive verb To steer (the wheels of a vehicle) to make a turn.
  • transitive verb To jam (a wheel) by a short turn.
  • adjective Cramped.
  • idiom (cramp (one's) style) To restrict or prevent from free action or expression.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun An involuntary and painful contraction of a muscle; a variety of tonic spasm.
  • noun A claw; a paw.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A bench-hook or holdfast.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun That which hinders motion or expansion; restraint; confinement; that which hampers.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun That which confines or contracts; a restraint; a shackle; a hindrance.
  • noun (Masonry) A device, usually of iron bent at the ends, used to hold together blocks of stone, timbers, etc.; a cramp iron.
  • noun (Carp.) A rectangular frame, with a tightening screw, used for compressing the joints of framework, etc.
  • noun 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.
  • noun (Med.) A spasmodic and painful involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles, as of the leg.
  • noun (Med.) A paralysis of certain muscles due to excessive use
  • noun the patella of a sheep; -- formerly used as a charm for the cramp.
  • noun a ring formerly supposed to have virtue in averting or curing cramp, as having been consecrated by one of the kings of England on Good Friday.
  • adjective rare Knotty; difficult.
  • transitive verb To compress; to restrain from free action; to confine and contract; to hinder.
  • transitive verb To fasten or hold with, or as with, a cramp.
  • transitive verb to bind together; to unite.
  • transitive verb To form on a cramp.
  • transitive verb To afflict with cramp.
  • transitive verb to turn the front wheels out of line with the hind wheels, so that one of them shall be against the body of the wagon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • verb affect with or as if with a cramp

Etymologies

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

[Middle English crampe, from Old French, of Germanic origin.]

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

[Middle English crampe, probably from Middle Dutch, hook, cramp. Adj., probably akin to Icelandic krappr, constrained, tight, and Old High German cramf, squeezed.]

Examples

  • KING: But the term cramp you hear it all the time right?

    CNN Transcript Mar 8, 2006

  • It briefly appeared the efforts would be for naught last night when Youkilis left in the fourth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays with what he described as a cramp in his right ankle capsule.

    Home - BostonHerald.com

  • That book gave me such a brain cramp that it's taken me a year to write a review because I've been processing it and trying to figure out how to say what I want to say.

    Gender Trouble Week

  • That book gave me such a brain cramp that it's taken me a year to write a review because I've been processing it and trying to figure out how to say what I want to say.

    Archive 2009-10-01

  • Speaking of things that make your brain cramp, let's say you were to join a Second Life roleplay group with the following charter:

    Howard Hughes Vs. the Slavering Idiots from Planet Duh

  • ` ` I would consider that a brain cramp, '' Carlyle said with a smirk.

    USATODAY.com - Hockey - Phoenix vs. Anaheim

  • Writhing in pain with what later was called a cramp, Schneider needed help off the ice.

    chicagotribune.com - News

  • This torpor of the stomach is attended with indigestion, and consequent flatulency, and with pain, which is usually called the cramp of the stomach, and is relievable by aromatics, essential oils, alcohol, or opium.

    Zoonomia, Vol. I Or, the Laws of Organic Life

  • Short of documenting a massive brain cramp, what’s the value of these materials.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Kagan’s Clinton Administration Memos

  • Sullivan, who missed nearly two seasons and needed two surgeries on his back, missed a couple of shifts in the second period with what Nashville coach Barry Trotz called a cramp in his calf.

    USATODAY.com

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

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

    April 17, 2018