"short burst of running, etc.," 1865, from sprint (v.).
1560s, "to spring, dart," probably an alteration of sprenten "to leap, spring" (early 14c.), from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse spretta "to jump up" (cognate with Swedish spritta "to start, startle"). Meaning "to run a short distance at full speed" first recorded 1871. Related: Sprinted; sprinting.
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