Definition of sprain in English:



  • 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 more common of these include spraining or tearing one or more ligaments, tearing the meniscus or straining a tendon or muscle.’
    • ‘I was checking to make sure you didn't sprain your ankle or anything.’
    • ‘In January she ‘fell’ down two flights of stairs, spraining her wrist and twisting an ankle.’
    • ‘Few dancers manage to perform without ever spraining an ankle.’
    • ‘The rough ground took my mind off my problem, focusing instead on not spraining an ankle.’
    • ‘I'm sorry for giving you so much trouble with the press after spraining your ankle.’
    • ‘Would you put your mother in a home for the elderly after spraining her ankle?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Despite Adam spraining his ankle just before they flew to Spain, the tour was a great success.’
    • ‘Then, two days before the performance, Ivan sprained his ankle in rehearsal.’
    • ‘Ken had a greater risk of spraining his ankle because he has systemic hypermobility.’
    • ‘I had no idea that pretending to sprain your ankle would hurt so badly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Consider, for example, a high-heeled pedestrian planting a spike in a deep crack and spraining an ankle.’
    • ‘Chris Hammerton is the biggest doubt after spraining his ankle yesterday, while Alan Pallister and Andy Hill (bruised ankle) are expected to be fit.’
    • ‘He sprained his ankle after he saw you sprain your wrist.’
    • ‘He couldn't play if he was in danger of tripping over an empty soda can and spraining his ankle or worse.’
    • ‘It will save you spraining an ankle or something in those ridiculous shoes.’
    • ‘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.’
    wrench, twist, turn, strain, crick
    pull, stretch, tear
    injure, hurt, damage
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  • The result of spraining a joint:

    ‘a compress for treating sprains and bruises’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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!’’
    • ‘My, that's quite a sprain you've got there.’
    • ‘He'd suffered multiple sprains and cuts, but nothing very serious.’
    • ‘She pretended to trip on a cobblestone and feigned a sprain.’
    • ‘Injuries are about as common as in the big leagues and the severity of ailments range from minor ankle sprains to season-ending injuries.’
    • ‘I forgot about my sprain until a second later when I tried to yank off my shoe.’
    • ‘It just seems to be a minor sprain, just stay off of it for a few days and you should be fine.’
    • ‘Acute injuries, such as a sudden sprain or muscle pull, seem to happen out of the blue.’
    • ‘‘It's just a mild sprain,’ informed the doctor, leaving the room so they could talk in private.’
    • ‘His ankle is a bit swollen, a minor sprain, but he should stay off it for about two to three weeks.’
    • ‘Hanson ended up with multiple ankle sprains, and learned two important lessons.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘From the angle at which he held his wrist, he had sustained a mild sprain.’
    • ‘Lisa had left the room so Jenson could check Jon's body for possible breaks or sprains.’
    • ‘Luckily, the x-ray showed no break, and it was deemed a rather vicious sprain.’
    • ‘Has she said what gave her the bruises or sprains?’
    • ‘The vials were all for minor things like sprains and small cuts.’
    • ‘Alex sat on the edge of the pool, letting her feet dangle in the cool water, and was careful about her sprain.’
    wrench, strain, rick, crick
    pull, tear, injury
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: of unknown origin.