See more synonyms for sprain on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to overstrain or wrench (the ligaments of an ankle, wrist, or other joint) so as to injure without fracture or dislocation.
  1. a violent straining or wrenching of the parts around a joint, without dislocation.
  2. the condition of being sprained.

Origin of sprain

First recorded in 1595–1605; origin uncertain
Related formsun·sprained, adjective

Synonyms for sprain

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. twist. See strain1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sprain

strain, twist, turn, wrench, tear, pull

Examples from the Web for sprain

Historical Examples of sprain

  • I cried, as I pressed her to my breast, "it is nothing; only a sprain."

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • The injury to Justin's hand proved to be one of strain and sprain.

    Glory of Youth

    Temple Bailey

  • If I trained for a race, I was sure to sprain my ankle on the day when I was to run.

    The Upper Berth

    Francis Marion Crawford

  • They watched him with some curiosity as he treated the sprain and studied the pulse.

  • It couldn't even have been a sprain, judging by the way he was standing there.

    Ten From Infinity

    Paul W. Fairman

British Dictionary definitions for sprain


  1. (tr) to injure (a joint) by a sudden twisting or wrenching of its ligaments
  1. the resulting injury to such a joint, characterized by swelling and temporary disability

Word Origin for sprain

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

Word Origin and History for sprain

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

sprain in Medicine


  1. An injury to a ligament when the joint is carried through a range of motion greater than its normal range without dislocation or fracture.
  1. 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.