The prominent tendons at the back of the knee. They are the sidewalls of the hollow behind the knee. (This hollow is called the popliteal space). Both hamstrings connect to muscles that flex the knee. A pulled hamstring is a common athletic injury. The "ham" of "hamstring" comes from an Old Teutonic word "ham" meaning crooked. This is in reference to the crooked part of the leg, that is the knee. To "hamstring" someone is to cripple them. See Hamstring Injuries and the Hamstring Stretch to prevent hamstring injuries.
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1. One of the tendons bounding the popliteal space on either side; the medial h. comprises the tendons of the semimembranosus and semitendinosus muscles; the lateral h. is the tendon of the biceps femoris muscle. H. muscles (a) have origin from the ischial tuberosity, (b) act across (at) both the hip and knee joints (producing extension and flexion, respectively), and (c) are innervated by the tibial portion of the sciatic nerve. The medial h. contributes to medial rotation of the leg at the flexed knee joint, while the lateral h. contributes to lateral rotation. 2. In domestic animals, the combined tendons of the superficial digital flexor, triceps surae, biceps femoris, and semitendinosus muscles which are referred to as the common calcanean tendon (tendo calcaneus communis); it is attached to the tuber calcis of the hock.

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ham·string 'ham-.striŋ n
1 a) either of two groups of tendons bounding the upper part of the popliteal space at the back of the knee and forming the tendons of insertion of some muscles of the back of the thigh
2) a large tendon above and behind the hock of a quadruped corresponding to the human Achilles tendon
hamstring vt, -strung -.strəŋ; -string·ing -.striŋ-iŋ to cripple by cutting the leg tendons <folklore has it that wolf packs try to \hamstring their prey (John Madson)>

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any of the tendons at the back of the knee. They attach the hamstring muscles (the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus) to their insertions in the tibia and fibula.

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ham·string (hamґstring) 1. one of the tendons that border the popliteal fossa laterally and medially. 2. pertaining to or related to these tendons; see under muscle.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • hamstring — (v.) 1640s, to disable, render useless, a figurative verbal extension from the noun hamstring tendon at the back of the knee (1560s), from ham bend of the knee (see HAM (Cf. ham) (1)) + STRING (Cf. string). Cutting this would render a person or… …   Etymology dictionary

  • hamstring — [ham′striŋ΄] n. 1. one of the tendons at the back of the human knee 2. the large tendon at the back of the hock in a four legged animal 3. any of three large muscles that form the back of the thigh and work together to flex the leg, extend the… …   English World dictionary

  • Hamstring — Ham string (h[a^]m str[i^]ng ), n. (Anat.) One of the great tendons situated in each side of the ham, or space back of the knee, and connected with the muscles of the back of the thigh. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hamstring — Ham string , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Hamstrung}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Hamstringing}. See {String}.] To lame or disable by cutting the tendons of the ham or knee; to hough; hence, to cripple; to incapacitate; to disable. [1913 Webster] So have they… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hamstring — index deter, hinder, obstruct Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • hamstring — [v] disable cripple, debilitate, handicap, hinder, hobble, immobilize, impair, lame, maim, mangle, paralyze, weaken; concepts 130,246 …   New thesaurus

  • hamstring — ► NOUN 1) any of five tendons at the back of a person s knee. 2) the great tendon at the back of a quadruped s hock. ► VERB (past and past part. hamstrung) 1) cripple by cutting the hamstrings. 2) severely restrict; thwart. ORIGIN …   English terms dictionary

  • Hamstring — Infobox Muscle Name = PAGENAME Latin = GraySubject = 128 GrayPage = 478 Caption = Back of left lower extremity. Caption2 = Interior muscular view of the three muscles that make up the hamstring Origin = tuberosity of the ischium, linea aspera… …   Wikipedia

  • hamstring — [[t]hæ̱mstrɪŋ[/t]] hamstrings, hamstringing, hamstrung 1) N COUNT A hamstring is a length of tissue or tendon behind your knee which joins the muscles of your thigh to the bones of your lower leg. Webster has not played since suffering a… …   English dictionary

  • hamstring — ham|string1 [ˈhæmˌstrıŋ] n a ↑tendon behind your knee, which sometimes gets injured when you do sport ▪ He pulled a hamstring in training. hamstring injury/problem/strain etc hamstring 2 hamstring2 past tense and past participle hamstrung [… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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