Know these essential literary terms?
"muscle contraction," late 14c., from Old French crampe, from a Frankish or other Germanic word (cf. Old High German krapmhe "cramp, spasm," related to kramph "bent, crooked"), from a Proto-Germanic root forming many words for "bent, crooked," including, via French, crampon. Writer's cramp is first attested 1842 as the name of a physical affliction of the hand, in reference to translations of German medical papers (Stromeyer); also known as scrivener's palsy.
"metal bar bent at both ends," early 15c., from Middle Dutch crampe or Middle Low German krampe, both from the same Proto-Germanic root that yielded cramp (n.1). Metaphoric sense of "something that confines or hinders" first recorded 1719.
"to contract" (of muscles), early 15c., from cramp (n.1). Related: Cramped; cramping.
c.1400, "to bend or twist," from cramp (n.2). Later "compress forcibly" (1550s), and, figuratively, "to restrict" (1620s). Related: Cramped; cramping.
A sudden, involuntary, spasmodic muscular contraction causing severe pain, often occurring in the leg or shoulder as the result of strain or chill.
A temporary partial paralysis of habitually or excessively used muscles.
cramps 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.