Definition of cramp in English:


Line breaks: cramp
Pronunciation: /kramp


  • 1 [mass noun] Painful involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles, typically caused by fatigue or strain: an attack of cramp [count noun]: he suffered severe cramps in his foot
    More example sentences
    • The runner suffers severe muscle pain and cramp as well as crippling abdominal discomfort.
    • The etiology of nocturnal leg muscle cramps is not clear.
    • For a number of years, quinine sulfate has been widely used for the treatment of nocturnal leg muscle cramps.
    muscle/muscular spasm, muscle/muscular contraction, pang, twinge; crick, kink, stitch, stiffness, pain, shooting pain, ache, convulsion, tic, twitch; Medicine clonus, hyperkinesis
  • 1.1 (cramps) North American Abdominal pain caused by menstruation.
    More example sentences
    • The last normal menstrual period, 7 years earlier, had lasted 6 days and was associated with abdominal cramps and pain.
    • Ibuprofen is helpful for menstrual cramps and pain from inflammation (such as muscle sprains).
    • The same remedies that work for menstrual cramps also lessen the pain of endometriosis.
  • 2A tool, typically shaped like a capital G, for clamping two objects together for gluing or other work.
    More example sentences
    • Clamping dovetails is not easy but I have found that it is possible to glue them up without cramps at all.
  • 2.1 (also cramp-iron) A metal bar with bent ends for holding masonry together: the facade is built of travertine blocks without mortar but held by metal cramps


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  • 2 [with object] Fasten with a cramp or cramps: cramp the gates to the posts
  • 3 [no object] Suffer from sudden and painful contractions of a muscle or muscles: in the final game, Chang cramped severely
    More example sentences
    • Her hand had such low muscle tone that it cramped painfully as she tried to control the pencil when she wrote.
    • The first day back, my quadricep muscle was cramping.
    • There are a number of possible reasons for muscles to cramp up.


cramp someone's style

informal Prevent a person from acting freely or naturally: he’s not putting any pressure on me that would cramp my style
More example sentences
  • He said it cramps his style of getting really big bucks from Fat Cats.
  • The truth has not cramped their style in the past and is unlikely to do so during the current confirmation hearings.
  • A coalition government and a secular constitution have cramped their style.


late Middle English: from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch krampe; sense 1 of the noun is via Old French crampe.

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