writer's cramp

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writer's cramp (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) A debilitating pain preventing easy movement of the wrist, hand, or fingers, resulting from prolonged use of a pen or pencil.
    • c. 1900, O. Henry, He Also Serves:
      The recording of their tales is no more than a matter of ears and fingers. There are only two fates I dread—deafness and writer's cramp.
    • 1909, P. G. Wodehouse, chapter 12, in Mike: A Public School Story:
      "The following boys will go in to extra lesson this afternoon and next Wednesday," it began. And "the following boys" numbered four hundred.
      "Bates must have got writer's cramp," said Clowes, as he read the huge scroll.
    • 1922, Peter B. Kyne, chapter 23, in Cappy Ricks Retires:
      Christmas dividend checks and checks covering Christmas presents to his employees were always signed by him. . . . He had writer's cramp by the time he finished.
    • 2007 Nov. 4, John Updike, "On Literary Biography" (excerpt from Due Considerations), New York Times (retrieved 9 Dec 2011):
      Henry James, after he suffered an attack of writer's cramp, began to dictate to a typist.