Definition of sprain in English:



[with object]
  • Wrench or twist the ligaments of (an ankle, wrist, or other joint) violently so as to cause pain and swelling but not dislocation.

    ‘he left in a wheelchair after spraining an ankle’
    • ‘The rough ground took my mind off my problem, focusing instead on not spraining an ankle.’
    • ‘A mother-of-three has been awarded £1,000 in damages after spraining her wrist while lifting a bread tray at a York supermarket's in-store bakery.’
    • ‘Would you put your mother in a home for the elderly after spraining her ankle?’
    • ‘The more common of these include spraining or tearing one or more ligaments, tearing the meniscus or straining a tendon or muscle.’
    • ‘Despite Adam spraining his ankle just before they flew to Spain, the tour was a great success.’
    • ‘Few dancers manage to perform without ever spraining an ankle.’
    • ‘One 17-year-old male dancer who had sprained his ankle in June resprained it a month later when, still feeling weak and unstable, he started an intense summer program.’
    • ‘It will save you spraining an ankle or something in those ridiculous shoes.’
    • ‘Consider, for example, a high-heeled pedestrian planting a spike in a deep crack and spraining an ankle.’
    • ‘In January she ‘fell’ down two flights of stairs, spraining her wrist and twisting an ankle.’
    • ‘He couldn't play if he was in danger of tripping over an empty soda can and spraining his ankle or worse.’
    • ‘Ken had a greater risk of spraining his ankle because he has systemic hypermobility.’
    • ‘Despite spraining her ankle days before the wedding, Sam remained composed throughout the ceremony at St George's Chapel, Paphos.’
    • ‘At precisely 838 pages long, it is almost impossible to hold up without spraining your wrist.’
    • ‘Then, two days before the performance, Ivan sprained his ankle in rehearsal.’
    • ‘I was checking to make sure you didn't sprain your ankle or anything.’
    • ‘He sprained his ankle after he saw you sprain your wrist.’
    • ‘I'm sorry for giving you so much trouble with the press after spraining your ankle.’
    • ‘I had no idea that pretending to sprain your ankle would hurt so badly.’
    • ‘Chris Hammerton is the biggest doubt after spraining his ankle yesterday, while Alan Pallister and Andy Hill (bruised ankle) are expected to be fit.’
    wrench, twist, turn, strain, crick
    View synonyms


  • The result of spraining a joint.

    ‘a compress for treating sprains and bruises’
    • ‘His ankle is a bit swollen, a minor sprain, but he should stay off it for about two to three weeks.’
    • ‘Fishburne, too, suffered his fair share of sprains and bruises, although he said that ‘it comes with the territory’ when dealing with the action genre.’
    • ‘Acute injuries, such as a sudden sprain or muscle pull, seem to happen out of the blue.’
    • ‘He'd suffered multiple sprains and cuts, but nothing very serious.’
    • ‘She pretended to trip on a cobblestone and feigned a sprain.’
    • ‘Hanson ended up with multiple ankle sprains, and learned two important lessons.’
    • ‘Alex sat on the edge of the pool, letting her feet dangle in the cool water, and was careful about her sprain.’
    • ‘The vials were all for minor things like sprains and small cuts.’
    • ‘I forgot about my sprain until a second later when I tried to yank off my shoe.’
    • ‘Panting and grumbling in the dark, she quickly assessed she had no broken limbs or sprains, although she was sure her body would be quite colorful in the morning.’
    • ‘Lisa had left the room so Jenson could check Jon's body for possible breaks or sprains.’
    • ‘Over the years, he'd nursed his son through all sorts of ailments, including sprains and broken bones.’
    • ‘Finally, wiping away the tears that had formed in the corners of my eyes as result of my laughter, I lifted one of my crutches in the air and said, ‘Just a sprain!’’
    • ‘From the angle at which he held his wrist, he had sustained a mild sprain.’
    • ‘It just seems to be a minor sprain, just stay off of it for a few days and you should be fine.’
    • ‘Injuries are about as common as in the big leagues and the severity of ailments range from minor ankle sprains to season-ending injuries.’
    • ‘Has she said what gave her the bruises or sprains?’
    • ‘My, that's quite a sprain you've got there.’
    • ‘‘It's just a mild sprain,’ informed the doctor, leaving the room so they could talk in private.’
    • ‘Luckily, the x-ray showed no break, and it was deemed a rather vicious sprain.’
    wrench, strain, rick, crick
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: of unknown origin.