Origin of the word
Sprint appeared in English with the meaning of ‘to run fast’ as recently as the 19th century. Its roots are much older, though, going back to the Old English term ‘sprintan’, which is related to ‘sprinzan’, an Old High German verb meaning ‘to jump up’, as well as Scandinavian words such as Old Norse ‘spretta’ and the Swedish word ‘spritta’ meaning ‘to dart, spring, or bound’. In present day usage, sprint is used as both a noun and a verb.
Sprint is a verb that refers to intense activity at a heightened speed over a short distance or period of time. It typically describes fast-paced physical activity, whether it be running, cycling, swimming or a more abstract form of movement. When someone uses sprint as a noun, they are talking about a foot race of sorts, usually in a competitive atmosphere. Athletic sprinting is among the oldest forms of competition in the world, dating back to the Ancient Olympic Games. Usain Bolt currently holds the world record for the fastest 100m and 200m sprints, which were both set at the 2009 World Athletics Championships.
“‘I feel very confident, those two men, my bosses, have complete confidence in us and the way we are doing things here, and a very clear understanding this is a marathon, not a sprint,’ Herman said. ‘Knowing those two guys are with me on the journey allows me to not feel any extra internal pressure or angst.’” – USA Today, Monday 4th September 2017: Herman says building Texas a marathon, not a sprint.
“A former Boston College cross-country runner has traversed the 2,190-mile (3,524-kilometer) Appalachian Trail in record time after a sleepless, 37-hour sprint to the top of Maine’s Mount Katahdin.” – The Washington Post, Saturday 2nd September 2017: Sprint to the finish yields a new Appalachian Trail record.
To run, swim etc. at a very fast speed for a short period of time.