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."

Definitions of cramp
  1. noun
    a painful and involuntary muscular contraction
    synonyms: 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
  2. verb
    suffer from sudden painful contraction of a muscle
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    type of:
    get, have, suffer, sustain
    undergo (as of injuries and illnesses)
  3. verb
    affect with or as if with a cramp
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    type of:
    act physically on; have an effect upon
  4. noun
    a clamp for holding pieces of wood together while they are glued
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    type of:
    clamp, clinch
    a device (generally used by carpenters) that holds things firmly together
  5. noun
    a strip of metal with ends bent at right angles; used to hold masonry together
    synonyms: cramp iron
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    type of:
    slip, strip
    artifact consisting of a narrow flat piece of material
  6. verb
    secure with a cramp
    cramp the wood”
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    type of:
    fasten, fix, secure
    cause to be firmly attached
  7. verb
    prevent the progress or free movement of
    synonyms: halter, hamper, strangle
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    type of:
    bound, confine, limit, restrain, restrict, throttle, trammel
    place limits on (extent or access)
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