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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 sprinter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Emetic was the fastest sprinter there that day; a sprinter, not a stayer.

    Garrison's Finish W. B. M. Ferguson
  • Withrow, hearing this, was off like a sprinter who hears the signal.

  • Like a sprinter his volition was fixed on a goal, beyond which lay collapse.

    Blazed Trail Stories Stewart Edward White
  • I was like a sprinter that breasts the tape, only to be carried fainting from the field.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • Then he rose, crouchingly, next made a sprinter's start and bolted.

  • "You're more of a sprinter than a shooter, if I'm any judge," said Locke.

    Isle o' Dreams Frederick F. Moore
  • Can any sprinter, carrying the same weights, surpass this achievement?

  • In this play he had to move and he proved he was no sprinter.

    Nat Goodwin's Book Nat C. Goodwin
  • Indeed I was built more like a "quarter-miler" than a sprinter.

    At Start and Finish William Lindsey
British Dictionary definitions for sprinter


(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 sprinter



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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