1. To begin to experience muscle cramps. Whoa, I need to rest for a minute—my leg is cramping up.
2. To cause one to begin to experience muscle cramps. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "cramp" and up." I need to get some water—dehydration is starting to cramp me up.
3. To squeeze or force someone or something into an overly small space. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "cramp" and up." Every time you try to cramp up more stuff in this closet, it all comes crashing down on me the next time I open it. Don't leave the dog cramped up in his cage all day!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
1. To suffer muscle cramps: I cramped up while swimming today.
2. To cause someone or something to suffer muscle cramps: That lousy meal cramped me up.
3. To squeeze something tightly into a restrictive space or position: There are too many subjects cramped up together under the same heading. I was cramped up in the back seat of a compact car for hours.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.