cramp (n.1) Look up cramp at
"muscle contraction," late 14c., from Old French crampe, from a Frankish or other Germanic word (compare Old High German krapmhe "cramp, spasm," related to kramph "bent, crooked"), from a Proto-Germanic root forming many words for "bent, crooked," including, via French, crampon. Writer's cramp is first attested 1842 as the name of a physical affliction of the hand, in reference to translations of German medical papers (Stromeyer); also known as scrivener's palsy.
cramp (n.2) Look up cramp at
"metal bar bent at both ends," early 15c., from Middle Dutch crampe or Middle Low German krampe, both from the same Proto-Germanic root that yielded cramp (n.1). Metaphoric sense of "something that confines or hinders" first recorded 1719.
cramp (v.1) Look up cramp at
"to contract" (of muscles), early 15c., from cramp (n.1). Related: Cramped; cramping.
cramp (v.2) Look up cramp at
"to bend or twist," early 14c., from cramp (n.2) and Old French crampir. Later "compress forcibly" (1550s), and, figuratively, "to restrict" (1620s). Related: Cramped; cramping.