When a muscle in your body tenses up painfully, it's a cramp. If you get a cramp in your leg when you're swimming, you have to stop and stretch out the muscle until the cramp goes away.

Muscle cramps are a side effect of exercise and fatigue, and they can often be avoided by stretching before and after a run or a game of basketball. Cramp is also a verb, meaning both "contract painfully," and also "hold back, or prevent free movement." This is what you mean when you say, "Mom, please don't walk me in to school — you'll cramp my style."

Primary Meanings of cramp

a painful and involuntary muscular contraction
suffer from sudden painful contraction of a muscle
a clamp for holding pieces of wood together while they are glued
secure with a cramp
prevent the progress or free movement of
Full Definitions of cramp

n a painful and involuntary muscular contraction

muscle spasm, spasm
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charley horse, charley-horse
a muscular cramp (especially in the thigh or calf) following vigorous exercise
graphospasm, writer's cramp
muscular spasms of thumb and forefinger while writing with a pen or pencil
spasm of the eyelid muscle resulting in closure of the eye
crick, kink, rick, wrick
a painful muscle spasm especially in the neck or back (`rick' and `wrick' are British)
a clonic spasm of a muscle or muscle group
severe spasm in which the back arches and the head bends back and heels flex toward the back
twitch, twitching, vellication
a sudden muscle spasm; especially one caused by a nervous condition
painful spasm of the anal sphincter along with an urgent desire to defecate without the significant production of feces; associated with irritable bowel syndrome
prolonged spasm of the jaw muscles
a local and habitual twitching especially in the face
condition in which a person blinks continuously
muscular twitching involving individual muscle fibers acting without coordination
muscular twitching of contiguous groups of muscle fibers
Type of:
(medicine) any sensation or change in bodily function that is experienced by a patient and is associated with a particular disease

v suffer from sudden painful contraction of a muscle

Type of:
get, have, suffer, sustain
undergo (as of injuries and illnesses)

v affect with or as if with a cramp

Type of:
act physically on; have an effect upon

n a clamp for holding pieces of wood together while they are glued

Type of:
clamp, clinch
a device (generally used by carpenters) that holds things firmly together

n a strip of metal with ends bent at right angles; used to hold masonry together

cramp iron
Type of:
slip, strip
artifact consisting of a narrow flat piece of material

v secure with a cramp

cramp the wood”
Type of:
fasten, fix, secure
cause to be firmly attached

v prevent the progress or free movement of

halter, hamper, strangle
Type of:
bound, confine, limit, restrain, restrict, throttle, trammel
place limits on (extent or access)

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