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'm sorry for giving you so much trouble with the press after spraining your ankle.’
    • ‘Despite Adam spraining his ankle just before they flew to Spain, the tour was a great success.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ken had a greater risk of spraining his ankle because he has systemic hypermobility.’
    • ‘I was checking to make sure you didn't sprain your ankle or anything.’
    • ‘Chris Hammerton is the biggest doubt after spraining his ankle yesterday, while Alan Pallister and Andy Hill (bruised ankle) are expected to be fit.’
    • ‘Consider, for example, a high-heeled pedestrian planting a spike in a deep crack and spraining an ankle.’
    • ‘He couldn't play if he was in danger of tripping over an empty soda can and spraining his ankle or worse.’
    • ‘He sprained his ankle after he saw you sprain your wrist.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘I had no idea that pretending to sprain your ankle would hurt so badly.’
    • ‘Few dancers manage to perform without ever spraining an ankle.’
    • ‘In January she ‘fell’ down two flights of stairs, spraining her wrist and twisting an ankle.’
    • ‘At precisely 838 pages long, it is almost impossible to hold up without spraining your wrist.’
    • ‘The rough ground took my mind off my problem, focusing instead on not spraining an ankle.’
    • ‘Despite spraining her ankle days before the wedding, Sam remained composed throughout the ceremony at St George's Chapel, Paphos.’
    • ‘Then, two days before the performance, Ivan sprained his ankle in rehearsal.’
    • ‘It will save you spraining an ankle or something in those ridiculous shoes.’
    wrench, twist, turn, strain, crick
    pull, stretch, tear
    injure, hurt, damage
    View synonyms


  • The result of a wrench or twist of the ligaments of a joint.

    • ‘Alex sat on the edge of the pool, letting her feet dangle in the cool water, and was careful about her sprain.’
    • ‘It just seems to be a minor sprain, just stay off of it for a few days and you should be fine.’
    • ‘The vials were all for minor things like sprains and small cuts.’
    • ‘Hanson ended up with multiple ankle sprains, and learned two important lessons.’
    • ‘His ankle is a bit swollen, a minor sprain, but he should stay off it for about two to three weeks.’
    • ‘Lisa had left the room so Jenson could check Jon's body for possible breaks or sprains.’
    • ‘Acute injuries, such as a sudden sprain or muscle pull, seem to happen out of the blue.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My, that's quite a sprain you've got there.’
    • ‘From the angle at which he held his wrist, he had sustained a mild sprain.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘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!’’
    • ‘Has she said what gave her the bruises or sprains?’
    • ‘Over the years, he'd nursed his son through all sorts of ailments, including sprains and broken bones.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She pretended to trip on a cobblestone and feigned a sprain.’
    • ‘He'd suffered multiple sprains and cuts, but nothing very serious.’
    wrench, strain, rick, crick
    pull, tear, injury
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: of unknown origin.