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[spreyn] /spreɪn/
verb (used with object)
to overstrain or wrench (the ligaments of an ankle, wrist, or other joint) so as to injure without fracture or dislocation.
a violent straining or wrenching of the parts around a joint, without dislocation.
the condition of being sprained.
1595-1605; origin uncertain
Related forms
unsprained, adjective
1. twist. See strain1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sprained
  • Pick up a racket, and you run the risk of a sprained ankle, twisted knee or tennis elbow.
  • Beneath his fatigues he wears a brace to protect his left knee, which he sprained playing paintball a few years ago.
  • One day he sprained his wrist on the job and called in.
  • Then, the day before showtime, the equivalent of a sprained ankle before a marathon threatened us: clouds.
  • His first thought was that perhaps he'd only sprained it.
  • Frustration set in as my heavy rucksack and sprained ankle started sending pangs of pain throughout my body.
  • The eight-year-old suffered a sprained, possibly fractured arm, and his brother got a bruise on the forehead.
  • Twenty patients with one sprained ankle and one asymptomatic ankle will be recruited.
  • She was diagnosed with a sprained left wrist, instructed to follow up with an orthopedist and placed on work restrictions.
  • He returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a sprained shoulder, and the rust showed.
British Dictionary definitions for sprained


(transitive) to injure (a joint) by a sudden twisting or wrenching of its ligaments
the resulting injury to such a joint, characterized by swelling and temporary disability
Word Origin
C17: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sprained



c.1600, of uncertain origin. The verb is attested from 1620s. A connection has been suggested to Middle French espraindre "to press out," from Latin exprimere, but the sense evolution is difficult.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sprained in Medicine

sprain (sprān)
An injury to a ligament when the joint is carried through a range of motion greater than its normal range without dislocation or fracture. v. sprained, sprain·ing, sprains
To cause a sprain to a joint or ligament.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for sprained


overstretching or tearing of fibres in one or more of the ligaments that support a joint, caused by forced movement beyond their range. Symptoms include sudden severe pain, then swelling around the joint, tenderness, stiffness, and often black-and-blue marks as a result of bleeding into the joint. The common sites for sprains are the ankle, wrist, knee, finger or toe joints, and sacroiliac joint in the lower back. The usual treatment involves support and protection of the joint by adhesive bandaging and the use of graded exercises until healing is complete. If the sprain is severe, surgery to reunite ligaments may be necessary

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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