cramp up

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cramp up

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!
See also: cramp, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cramp up

v.
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.
See also: cramp, up
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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
That frantic pace forced the Australian to slow it down in the 21.1-km run as he began cramping up at the start of the race's most gruelling leg.
"He was cramping up every time the ball came into the area.
``I cramped up in my legs in the final here and now I am cramping up in the arms, so I will have to discover the reasons and see whether it is a dietary thing.''
There were several instances when Akhutie visibly struggled with his movements before cramping up in the third quarter, paving way for the Soaring Falcons to gain momentum for on a 23-4 run to take a 67-64 lead heading into the fourth.