v. ran (răn), run, run·ning, runs
a. To move swiftly on foot so that both or all feet are not on the ground during each stride.
b. To retreat rapidly; flee: When they heard the police siren, they ran.
c. Informal To depart; leave: Sorry, I have to run.
2. To migrate, especially to move in a shoal in order to spawn. Used of fish.
a. To move without hindrance or restraint: We let the dog run in the field.
b. To move or go quickly or hurriedly: run around doing errands.
c. To go when in trouble or distress: He is always running to his lawyer.
d. To make a short, quick trip or visit: ran next door to borrow a cup of sugar; ran down to the store.
a. To take part in a race or contest by running: ran in the marathon; athletes who run for the gold medal.
b. To compete in a race for elected office: ran for mayor.
c. To finish a race or contest in a specified position: ran second.
5. To move freely, as on wheels: The car ran downhill. The drawer runs on small bearings.
6. To travel over a regular route: The ferry runs every hour.
7. Nautical To sail or steer before the wind or on an indicated course: run before a storm.
a. To flow, especially in a steady stream: Fresh water runs from the spring. Turn on the faucet and let the water run.
b. To melt and flow: The flame made the solder run.
c. To emit pus, mucus, or serous fluid: Pollen makes my nose run.
d. To be wet or covered with a liquid: The street ran with blood. The mourners' eyes ran with tears.
e. To spread or dissolve, as dyes in fabric.
f. To have dye spread or dissolve: Colorfast garments are not supposed to run.
a. To extend, stretch, or reach in a certain direction or to a particular point: This road runs to the next town.
b. To extend, spread, or climb as a result of growing: Ivy ran up the wall.
c. To become known or prevalent rapidly in or over an area: disease that ran rampant.
d. To unravel along a line: Her stocking ran.
a. To be valid or in effect, as in a given area: The speed limit runs only to the town line.
b. To be present as a valid accompaniment: Fishing rights run with ownership of the land.
c. To accumulate or accrue: The interest runs from the first of the month.
11. To be in operation; function or work: The engine is running.
a. To pass; elapse: Days ran into weeks.
b. To tend to persist or recur: Stinginess seems to run in that family.
a. To pass into or become subject to a specified condition: We ran into debt.
b. To take a particular form, order, or expression: My reasoning runs thus. The report runs as follows.
c. To tend or incline: Their taste in art runs to the bizarre.
d. To occupy or exist in a certain range: The sizes run from small to large.
a. To be presented or performed: The lecture is running late. The play ran for six months.
b. To be published or broadcast, especially as news: The story ran in the sports section on Sunday.
a. To travel over on foot at a pace faster than a walk: ran the entire distance.
b. To cause (an animal) to move quickly or rapidly: ran the horse around the track.
c. To allow to move without restraint: We like to run the dogs along the beach.
d. To hunt or pursue; chase: dogs running deer.
2. To cause to move quickly: She ran her fingers along the keyboard.
3. Nautical To cause to move on a course: We ran our boat into a cove.
4. To cause to be in a given condition: The toddlers ran me ragged.
a. To cause to compete in a race: He ran two horses in the Kentucky Derby.
b. To present or nominate for elective office: The party ran her for senator.
a. To convey or transport: Run me into town. Run the garbage over to the dump.
b. Football To attempt to advance (the ball) by carrying it.
c. To smuggle: run guns.
7. To pass over or through: run the rapids; run a roadblock.
a. To cause to flow: run water into a tub.
b. To be flowing with: The fountains ran champagne.
a. To melt, fuse, or smelt (metal).
b. To mold or cast (molten metal): run gold into ingots.
a. To cause to extend or pass: run a rope between the poles.
b. To mark or trace on a surface: run a pencil line between two points.
c. To sew with a continuous line of stitches: run a seam.
d. To cause to unravel along a line: She ran her stocking on a splinter.
11. To submit for consideration or review: I'll run the idea by you before I write the proposal.
a. To continue to present or perform: ran the film for a month.
b. To publish in a periodical: run an advertisement.
a. To cause to crash or collide: ran the car into a fence.
b. To cause to penetrate: I ran a pin into my thumb.
a. To subject oneself or be subjected to: run a risk.
b. To have as an ongoing financial obligation: run a deficit; run a tab.
c. To be as a cost for; cost: Those hotel rooms can run you hundreds of dollars a night.
a. To score (balls or points) consecutively in billiards: run 15 balls.
b. To clear (the table) in pool by consecutive scores.
a. To cause to function; operate: run a machine.
b. To control, manage, or direct: ran the campaign by himself; a bureau that runs espionage operations.
c. To do or carry out: run errands; run an experiment.
a. Computers To process or execute (a program or instruction).
b. To compare (data) with data in a database or other storage medium: The police ran the license plate number to see if the car was registered.
a. An act or period of running: How was your run this morning?
b. A pace faster than a walk: set off at a brisk run.
a. A distance covered by running or traveling: a 10-mile run.
b. The time taken to cover such a distance: By taxi, it is a two minutes' run from the station.
c. A quick trip or visit: a run into town.
d. A scheduled or regular route: a delivery run.
e. A straight course or short distance followed by an aircraft before dropping a bomb on a target.
f. A stretch or period of riding, as in a race or to the hounds.
g. Sports The distance a golf ball rolls after hitting the ground.
h. Unrestricted freedom or use of an area: We had the run of the library.
a. Sports A running race: the winner of the mile run.
b. A campaign for public office: She managed his successful senatorial run.
4. Baseball A point scored by advancing around the bases and reaching home plate safely.
5. Football A player's act of carrying the ball, usually for a specified distance: a 30-yard run.
a. The migration of fish, especially in order to spawn.
b. A group or school of fish ascending a river in order to spawn.
a. A track or slope along or down which something can travel: a logging run.
b. A pipe or channel through which something flows.
c. Sports A particular type of passage down a hill or across country experienced by an athlete, such as a skier or bobsledder: had two very good runs before the end of the day.
d. A trail or way made or frequented by animals.
e. An outdoor enclosure for domestic animals or poultry: a dog run.
f. Australian & New Zealand A tract of open land used for raising livestock; a ranch.
a. A continuous length or extent of something: a five-foot run of tubing.
b. The direction, configuration, or lie of something: the run of the grain in leather.
c. Nautical The immersed part of a ship's hull abaft of the middle body.
d. A length of torn or unraveled stitches in a knitted fabric.
e. Geology A vein or seam, as of ore or rock.
a. A continuous period of operation, especially of a machine or factory: gave the new furnace a run.
b. The production achieved during such a period: a press run of 15,000 copies.
c. Computers An execution of a specific program or instruction.
a. A movement or flow: a run of sap.
b. The duration or amount of such a flow.
c. A drip of paint or a mark left by such a drip.
d. Eastern Lower Northern US See creek.
e. A fall or slide, as of sand or mud.
a. An unbroken series or sequence: a run of dry summers.
b. Games A continuous sequence of playing cards in one suit.
c. An unbroken sequence or period of performances or presentations, as in the theater.
d. A successful sequence of actions, such as well-played shots or victories in a sport.
e. Music A rapid sequence of notes.
f. A series of unexpected and urgent demands, as by depositors or customers: a run on a bank.
a. A sustained state or condition: a run of good luck.
b. A trend or tendency: the run of events.
13. The average type, group, or category: The broad run of voters want the candidate to win.
14. runs Informal Diarrhea. Often used with the.
1. Being in a melted or molten state: run butter; run gold.
2. Completely exhausted from running.
To find by chance; come upon.
1. To pursue; chase.
2. To seek the company or attention of for purposes of courting: He finally became tired of running after her.
1. To encounter unexpectedly; run into.
2. To work against; oppose: found public sentiment running against him.
To go away; leave.
1. To flee; escape.
2. To leave one's home, especially to elope.
3. To stampede.
1. To stop because of lack of force or power: The alarm clock finally ran down.
2. To cause or allow (the time remaining in a sports contest) to elapse.
3. To make tired; cause to decline in vigor.
a. To collide with and knock down: a pedestrian who was run down by a speeding motorist.
b. Nautical To collide with and cause to sink.
5. To chase and capture: Detectives ran down the suspects.
6. To trace the source of: The police ran down all possible leads in the case.
7. To disparage: Don't run her down; she is very talented.
8. To go over; review: run down a list once more.
9. Baseball To put a runner out after trapping him or her between two bases.
1. To insert or include as something extra: ran in an illustration next to the first paragraph.
2. Printing To make a solid body of text without a paragraph or other break.
3. Slang To take into legal custody.
4. To pay a casual visit: We ran in for an hour.
1. To meet or find by chance: ran into an old friend.
2. To encounter (something): ran into trouble.
3. To collide with.
4. To amount to: His net worth runs into seven figures.
1. To print, duplicate, or copy: ran off 200 copies of the report.
2. To run away; elope.
3. To flow off; drain away.
4. To decide (a contest or competition) by a runoff.
5. To force or drive off (trespassers, for example).
1. To keep going; continue.
2. To talk volubly, persistently, and usually inconsequentially: He is always running on about his tax problems.
3. To continue a text without a formal break.
1. To become used up; be exhausted: Our supplies finally ran out.
2. To put out by force; compel to leave: We ran him out of town.
3. To become void, especially through the passage of time or an omission: an insurance policy that had run out.
4. To cause or allow (the time remaining in a sports contest) to elapse.
1. To collide with, knock down, and often pass over: The car ran over a child.
2. To read or review quickly: run over a speech before giving it.
3. To flow over.
4. To go beyond a limit: The meeting ran over by 30 minutes.
1. To pierce: The soldier was run through by a bayonet.
2. To use up quickly: She ran through all her money.
3. To rehearse quickly: Let's run through the first act again.
4. To go over the salient points or facts of: The crew ran through the preflight procedures. We ran through the witness's testimony before presenting it in court.
To make or become greater or larger: ran up huge bills; run up the price of the company's stock.
1. To keep company: runs with a wild crowd.
2. To take as one's own; adopt: "[He] was determined to run with the idea and go public before it had been researched" (Betty Cuniberti).
a run for (one's) money
in the long run
In the final analysis or outcome.
in the short run
In the immediate future.
on the run
a. In rapid retreat: guerrillas on the run after an ambush.
b. In hiding: fugitives on the run.
2. Hurrying busily from place to place: executives always on the run from New York to Los Angeles.
run a temperature/fever
To have a higher than normal body temperature.
run away with
a. To make off with hurriedly.
b. To steal.
2. To be greater or bigger than others in (a performance, for example).
run foul/afoul of
1. To run into; collide with: a sloop that had run foul of the submerged reef.
2. To come into conflict with: a pickpocket who ran foul of the law.
run in place
To go through the movements of running without leaving one's original position.
To deal with problems or difficult matters for someone else.
run off at the mouth
To talk excessively or indiscreetly.
run off with
To capture or carry off: ran off with the state championship.
run (one's) eyes over
To look at or read in a cursory manner.
run out of
To exhaust the supply of: ran out of fuel.
run out of gas/steam Slang
1. To exhaust one's energy or enthusiasm.
2. To falter or come to a stop because of a lack of capital, support, or enthusiasm.
run out on
To abandon: has run out on the family.
run rings around
To be markedly superior to.
run scared Informal
To become intimidated or frightened.
To become scanty or insufficient in supply: Fuel oil ran short during the winter.
run short of
To use up so that a supply becomes insufficient or scanty: ran short of paper clips.
run to earth/ground
1. To pursue (a hunted animal) to its den or lair.
2. To search for and find (someone or something).
3. To investigate (something) fully, usually with success.
[Middle English ernen, runnen, from Old English rinnan, eornan, earnan, and from Old Norse rinna; see rei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Our Living Language Traditional terms for "a small, fast-flowing stream" vary throughout the eastern United States especially and are enshrined in many place names. Speakers in the eastern part of the Lower North (including Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and southern Pennsylvania) use the word run. Speakers in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, the Dutch settlement areas of New York State, may call such a stream a kill. Brook has come to be used throughout the Northeast. Southerners refer to a branch, and throughout the rural northern United States the term is often crick, a variant of creek.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.