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 formssprint·er, nounout·sprint, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for sprint

rush, scamper, scurry, dart, dash, scoot, tear, shoot, race, whiz, hotfoot

Examples from the Web for sprint

Contemporary Examples of sprint

Historical Examples of sprint

  • Not so quick on a sprint—you find that yourself, Munro, eh what?

  • 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.

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


    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 (intr)

to go at top speed, as in running, cycling, etc
Derived Formssprinter, noun

Word Origin for sprint

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

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