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[sprint] /sprɪnt/
verb (used without object)
to race or move at full speed, especially for a short distance, as in running, rowing, etc.
verb (used with object)
to traverse in sprinting:
to sprint a half mile.
a short race at full speed.
a burst of speed at any point during a long race, as near the finish line.
a brief spell of great activity.
Origin of sprint
1560-70; perhaps continuing Old English *sprintan (compare gesprintan to emit); cognate with Old Norse spretta, Old High German sprinzan to jump up
Related forms
sprinter, noun
outsprint, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sprint
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Not so quick on a sprint—you find that yourself, Munro, eh what?

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
  • It is like unhandcuffing a prisoner and saying: “sprint a bit, I can catch up to you.”

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley
  • He broke into a sprint, trying to stay away from the fatal touch.

    The Status Civilization Robert Sheckley
  • You was winnin' all that when you did that sprint for goal your friend Dicky was tellin' about the other day.

    Torchy Sewell Ford
  • I've just time to drink a glass of wine and sprint for the train.

    The Easiest Way

    Eugene Walter and Arthur Hornblow
British Dictionary definitions for sprint


(athletics) a short race run at top speed, such as the 100 metres
a fast finishing speed at the end of a longer race, as in running or cycling, etc
any quick run
verb (intransitive)
to go at top speed, as in running, cycling, etc
Derived Forms
sprinter, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Scandinavian; related to Old English gesprintan to emit, Old Norse spretta to jump up, Old High German sprinzan to jump up, Swedish sprata to kick
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 sprint

1560s, "to spring, dart," from Old Norse spretta "to jump up." Meaning "to run a short distance at full speed" first recorded 1871. Related: Sprinted; sprinting.


1865, from sprint (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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