noun \ˈrün\

: any of the characters in the alphabets that were used in ancient times by people of Northern Europe

Full Definition of RUNE

:  any of the characters of any of several alphabets used by the Germanic peoples from about the 3d to the 13th centuries
:  mystery, magic
[Finnish runo, of Germanic origin; akin to Old Norse rūn]
a :  a Finnish or Old Norse poem
b :  poem, song
ru·nic \ˈrü-nik\ adjective

Examples of RUNE

  1. <wrote many mournful runes after her lover's untimely death>

Illustration of RUNE

Origin of RUNE

Old Norse & Old English rūn mystery, runic character, writing; akin to Old High German rūna secret discussion, Old Irish rún mystery
First Known Use: 1690

Other Alphabet Terms

cuneiform, linear, minuscule, pictograph, symbology, wedge


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of the characters within an early Germanic writing system. The runic alphabet, also called futhark, is attested in northern Europe, Britain, Scandinavia, and Iceland from about the 3rd century to the 16th or 17th century AD. The Goths may have developed it from the Etruscan alphabet of northern Italy. More than 4,000 runic inscriptions and several runic manuscripts are extant. Approximately 2,500 of these come from Sweden, the remainder being from Norway, Denmark, Britain, Iceland, and various islands off the coast of Britain and Scandinavia, as well as France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia.


Next Word in the Dictionary: runed
Previous Word in the Dictionary: run down
All Words Near: rune

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up rune? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).