verb \ˈrən\

Definition of run


play \ˈran\ also chiefly dialectal






  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a :  to go faster than a walk; specifically :  to go steadily by springing steps so that both feet leave the ground for an instant in each stepb of a horse :  to move at a fast gallopc :  flee, retreat, escape <dropped the gun and ran>d :  to utilize a running play on offense —used of a football team

  3. 2a :  to go without restraint :  move freely about at will <let chickens run loose>b :  to keep company :  consort <a ram running with ewes> <ran with a wild crowd when he was young>c :  to sail before the wind in distinction from reaching or sailing close-hauledd :  roam, rove <running about with no overcoat>

  4. 3a :  to go rapidly or hurriedly :  hasten <run and fetch the doctor>b :  to go in urgency or distress :  resort <runs to mother at every little difficulty>c :  to make a quick, easy, or casual trip or visit <ran over to borrow some sugar>

  5. 4a :  to contend in a raceb :  to enter into an election contest <will run for mayor>

  6. 5a :  to move on or as if on wheels :  glide <file drawers running on ball bearings>b :  to roll forward rapidly or freelyc :  to pass or slide freely <a rope runs through the pulley>d :  to ravel lengthwise <stockings guaranteed not to run>

  7. 6 :  to sing or play a musical passage quickly <run up the scale>

  8. 7a :  to go back and forth :  ply <the train runs between New York and Washington>b of fish :  to migrate or move in considerable numbers; especially :  to move up or down a river to spawn

  9. 8a :  turn, rotate <a swiftly running grindstone>b :  function, operate <the engine runs on gasoline> <software that runs on her computer>

  10. 9a (1) :  to continue in force, operation, or production <the contract has two more years to run> <the play ran for six months> (2) :  to have a specified duration, extent, or length <the manuscript runs nearly 500 pages>b :  to accompany as a valid obligation or right <a right-of-way that runs with the land>c :  to continue to accrue or become payable <interest on the loan runs from July 1>

  11. 10 :  to pass from one state to another <run into debt>

  12. 11a :  to flow rapidly or under pressureb :  melt, fusec :  spread, dissolve <colors guaranteed not to run>d :  to discharge liquid (such as pus or serum) <a running sore>

  13. 12a :  to develop rapidly in some specific direction; especially :  to throw out an elongated shoot of growthb :  to tend to produce or develop a specified quality or feature <they run to big noses in that family>

  14. 13a :  to lie in or take a certain direction <the boundary line runs east>b :  to lie or extend in relation to somethingc :  to go back :  reachd (1) :  to be in a certain form or expression <the letter runs as follows> (2) :  to be in a certain order of succession

  15. 14a :  to occur persistently <musical talent runs in the family>b (1) :  to remain of a specified size, amount, character, or quality <profits were running high> (2) :  to have or maintain a relative position or condition (as in a race) <ran third> <running late>c :  to exist or occur in a continuous range of variation <shades run from white to dark gray>

  16. 15a :  to spread or pass quickly from point to point <chills ran up her spine>b :  to be current :  circulate <speculation ran rife>

  17. transitive verb
  18. 1a :  to cause (an animal) to go rapidly :  ride or drive fastb :  to bring to a specified condition by or as if by running <ran himself to death>c :  to go in pursuit of :  hunt, chase <dogs that run deer>d :  to follow the trail of backward :  trace <ran the rumor to its source>e :  to enter, register, or enroll as a contestant in a racef :  to put forward as a candidate for officeg :  to carry (the football) on a running play

  19. 2a :  to drive (livestock) especially to a grazing placeb :  to provide pasturage for (livestock)c :  to keep or maintain (livestock) on or as if on pasturage

  20. 3a (1) :  to pass over or traverse with speed (2) :  to run on or over in athletic competition <runs the bases well> <run the floor>b :  to accomplish or perform by or as if by running <ran a great race> <run errands>c :  to slip or go through or past <run a blockade> <run a red light>d :  to travel on in a boat <run the rapids>

  21. 4a :  to cause to penetrate or enter :  thrust <ran a splinter into her toe>b :  stitchc :  to cause to pass :  lead <run a wire in from the antenna>d :  to cause to collide <ran his head into a post>e :  smuggle <run guns>

  22. 5 :  to cause to pass lightly or quickly over, along, or into something <ran her eye down the list>

  23. 6a :  to cause or allow (a vehicle or a vessel) to go in a specified manner or direction <ran the car off the road>b :  operate <run a lathe>c :  to direct the business or activities of :  manage, conduct <run a factory>d :  to employ or supervise in espionage <run an agent>

  24. 7a :  to be full of or drenched with <streets ran blood>b :  contain, assay

  25. 8a :  to cause to move or flow in a specified way or into a specified position <run cards into a file>b :  to cause to produce a flow (as of water) <run the faucet>; also :  to prepare by running a faucet <run a hot bath>

  26. 9a :  to melt and cast in a mold <run bullets>b :  treat, process, refine <run oil in a still> <run a problem through a computer>

  27. 10 :  to make oneself liable to :  incur <ran the risk of discovery>

  28. 11 :  to mark out :  draw <run a contour line on a map>

  29. 12a :  to permit (charges) to accumulate before settling <run a tab at the bar> —often used with up <ran up a large phone bill>b :  cost 1 <rooms that run $50 a night>

  30. 13a :  to produce by or as if by printing —usually used with off <ran off 10,000 copies of the first edition>b :  to carry in a printed medium :  print <every newspaper ran the story>

  31. 14a :  to make (a series of counts) without a miss <run 19 in an inning in billiards>b :  to lead winning cards of (a suit) successivelyc :  to alter by addition <ran his record to six wins and four losses>

  32. 15 :  to make (a golf ball) roll forward after alighting

run across

  1. :  to meet with or discover by chance

run a fever


run a temperature

  1. :  to have a fever

run after

  1. 1 :  pursue, chase; especially :  to seek the company of

  2. 2 :  to take up with :  follow <run after new theories>

run against

  1. 1 :  to meet suddenly or unexpectedly

  2. 2 :  to work or take effect unfavorably to :  disfavor, oppose

run a tight ship

  1. :  to have strict and exacting standards in controlling or managing something (such as a business)

run by


run past

  1. :  to present to (as for evaluation) <ran some ideas by her>

run circles around


run rings around

  1. :  to show marked superiority over :  defeat decisively or overwhelmingly

run dry

  1. 1 :  to use up an available supply

  2. 2 :  to become exhausted or spent <his inspiration had run dry>

run interference

  1. :  to provide assistance by or as if by clearing a path through obstructions <ran interference for me with the press>

run into

  1. 1a :  to change or transform into :  becomeb :  to merge withc :  to mount up to <their yearly income often runs into six figures>

  2. 2a :  to collide withb :  to meet by chance <ran into an old classmate the other day>

run low on

  1. :  to approach running out of <running low on options>

run one's mouth

  1. :  to talk excessively or foolishly

run riot

  1. 1 :  to act wildly or without restraint

  2. 2 :  to occur in profusion <daffodils running riot>

run short

  1. :  to become insufficient

run short of

  1. :  to use up :  run low on

run the numbers

  1. :  to perform calculations

run the table

  1. 1 :  to sink all remaining shots without missing in pool

  2. 2 :  to win all remaining contests

run to

  1. :  to mount up to <the book runs to 500 pages>

run upon

  1. :  to run across :  meet with

run with

  1. 1 :  to use or exploit fully :  make the most of <took the idea and ran with it>

  2. 2 :  to publicize widely <the press ran with the quote>

Using run in the Past Tense

The past tense run still survives in speech in southern England and in the speech especially of older people in some parts of the U.S. It was formerly used in literature, and was a standard variant in our dictionaries from 1828 until 1934. Grammarians have generally opposed it, and many people consider it nonstandard. Just about everybody uses ran in writing now.

Examples of run in a sentence

  1. How fast can you run?

  2. He runs faster than anyone else on the team.

  3. She ran up the stairs to get her jacket.

  4. We ran for the train—but missed it.

  5. I heard her scream and ran to help.

  6. She ran to me for help.

  7. The dog ran away from me.

  8. The dog ran toward me.

  9. When I called the dog, he came running.

  10. Don't expect me to come running every time you want something. I'm not your servant.

Origin and Etymology of run

Middle English ronnen, alteration of rinnen, intransitive verb (from Old English iernan, rinnan & Old Norse rinna) & of rennen, transitive verb, from Old Norse renna; akin to Old High German rinnan, intransitive verb, to run, Sanskrit riṇāti he causes to flow, and probably to Latin rivus stream

First Known Use: before 12th century




Definition of run

  1. 1a :  an act or the action of running :  continued rapid movementb :  a quickened gallopc :  a migration of fish (as up or down a river) especially to spawn; also :  such fish in the process of migrationd :  a running race <a mile run>e :  a score made in baseball by a runner reaching home plate safelyf :  strength or ability to rung :  a gain of a usually specified distance made on a running play in football <scored on a 25-yard run>; also :  a running playh :  a sustained usually aggressive effort (as to win or obtain something) <making a run at the championship>

  2. 2a chiefly Midland :  creek 2b :  something that flows in the course of an operation or during a particular time <the first run of sap in sugar maples>

  3. 3a :  the stern of the underwater body of a ship from where it begins to curve or slope upward and inwardb :  the direction in which a vein of ore liesc :  a direction of secondary or minor cleavage :  grain <the run of a mass of granite>d :  a horizontal distance (such as that covered by a flight of steps)e :  general tendency or direction

  4. 4 :  a continuous period or series especially of things of identical or similar sort <a run of bad luck>: such asa :  a rapid passage up or down a scale in vocal or instrumental musicb :  a number of rapid small dance steps executed in even tempoc :  the act of making successively a number of successful shots or strokes; also :  the score thus made <a run of 20 in billiards>d :  an unbroken course of performances or showings <a long run on Broadway>e :  a set of consecutive measurements, readings, or observationsf :  persistent and heavy demands from depositors, creditors, or customers <a run on a bank>g :  sequence 2b

  5. 5 :  the quantity of work turned out in a continuous operation <a press run of 10,000 copies>

  6. 6 :  the usual or normal kind, character, type, or group <the average run of students>

  7. 7a :  the distance covered in a period of continuous traveling or sailingb :  a course or trip especially if mapped out and traveled with regularityc :  a news reporter's regular territory :  beatd :  freedom of movement in or access to a place or area <has the run of the house>

  8. 8a :  the period during which a machine or plant is in continuous operationb :  the use of machinery for a single set of processing procedures <a computer run>

  9. 9a :  a way, track, or path frequented by animalsb :  an enclosure for domestic animals where they may feed or exercisec Australia (1) :  a large area of land used for grazing <a sheep run> (2) :  ranch, station <run-holder>d :  an inclined passageway

  10. 10a :  an inclined course (as for skiing or bobsledding)b :  a support (such as a track, pipe, or trough) on which something runs

  11. 11a :  a ravel in a knitted fabric (as in hosiery) caused by the breaking of stitchesb :  a paint defect caused by excessive flow

  12. 12 runs plural in form but singular or plural in construction :  diarrhea —used with the


play \-ləs\ adjective

on the run

  1. 1 :  in haste :  without pausing <ate lunch on the run>

  2. 2 :  in retreat :  in flight (as from the law) <an escaped convict on the run>

run for one's money

  1. :  a serious challenge to one's supremacy <is expected to give the incumbent a good run for his money>

Examples of run in a sentence

  1. He goes for a six-mile run every evening.

  2. She took the dogs out for a run.

15th Century

First Known Use of run

15th century




Definition of run

  1. 1a :  being in a melted state <run butter>b :  made from molten material :  cast in a mold <run metal>

  2. 2 of fish :  having made a migration or spawning run <a fresh run salmon>

  3. 3 :  exhausted or winded from running


First Known Use of run


RUN Defined for English Language Learners



verb \ˈrən\

Definition of run for English Language Learners

  • : to move with your legs at a speed that is faster than walking

  • : to leave a place quickly by running

  • : to run as part of a sport, for exercise, or in a race




Definition of run for English Language Learners

  • : an act of running

  • : a continuous series of similar things

  • : a continuous series of performances or showings

RUN Defined for Kids



verb \ˈrən\

Definition of run for Students





  1. 1 :  to go at a pace faster than a walk

  2. 2 :  to go rapidly or hurriedly <She ran home to get her book.>

  3. 3 :  to take to flight <They saw the police and ran.>

  4. 4 :  to pass over, across, or through <She ran her fingers through her hair.>

  5. 5 :  2function <That old car is still running.>

  6. 6 :  to cause to function <Can you run this machine?>

  7. 7 :  extend 2 <The trail runs from here to the border.>

  8. 8 :  to move freely about <He let the animals run loose.>

  9. 9 :  1flow 1 <A brook runs through the field.>

  10. 10 :  to be in charge of :  manage <My pop runs a newspaper here in town. — Oliver Butterworth, The Enormous Egg>

  11. 11 :  to do something by or as if by running <I'm running errands.>

  12. 12 :  to take part in a race

  13. 13 :  to move on or as if on wheels

  14. 14 :  to go back and forth often according to a fixed schedule <The train runs between Boston and Chicago.>

  15. 15 :  to migrate or move in schools <The salmon are running early this year.>

  16. 16 :  to continue in force <The exhibit runs until the end of the month.>

  17. 17 :  to pass into a specified condition <The well ran dry.>

  18. 18 :  to spread into another area <The dyes are guaranteed not to run.>

  19. 19 :  to give off liquid <My nose is running.>

  20. 20 :  to tend to develop a specified feature or quality <The shirts run small.>

  21. 21 :  to slip through or past <They ran the blockade.>

  22. 22 :  to cause to penetrate <He ran a knife through the bread.>

  23. 23 :  to cause to go <The sheriff ran them out of town.> <I ran my car off the road.>

  24. 24 :  to take on <She ran the risk of being caught.>

  25. 25 :  to print or broadcast <Every channel runs the ad.>

  26. 26 :  to be a candidate for office <She ran for mayor.>

  27. 27 :  to occur again and again <The condition runs in the family.>

run away

  1. :  to leave home secretly without intending to return

run into

  1. :  to meet by chance

run off

  1. :  to leave in a hurry

run out

  1. 1 :  to come to an end <Time ran out before I finished.>

  2. 2 :  to become used up <Supplies were running out.>

run out of

  1. :  to use up the available supply of <We ran out of gas.>

run over

  1. :  1overflow 1




Definition of run for Students

  1. 1 :  an act or the action of running <He took the dog for a run.>

  2. 2 :  a score made in baseball by a base runner reaching home plate

  3. 3 :  an enclosure for animals where they may feed and exercise

  4. 4 :  the usual or normal kind <It's like the usual run of shops.>

  5. 5 :  a continuous series especially of similar things <We have had a long run of good luck.>

  6. 6 :  sudden heavy demands from depositors, creditors, or customers <There was a run on the bank.>

  7. 7 :  the quantity of work turned out in a continuous operation

  8. 8 :  the distance covered in a period of continuous traveling

  9. 9 :  a regular course or trip

  10. 10 :  freedom of movement <Our guests had the run of the house.>

  11. 11 :  a way, track, or path frequented by animals <a deer run>

  12. 12 :  1slope 1 <a ski run>

  13. 13 :  a spot in knitted fabric that has unraveled <My stocking has a run in it.>

Medical Dictionary


intransitive verb \ˈrən\

Medical Definition of run


\ˈran\play ;




  1. :  to discharge fluid (as pus or serum) <a running sore>

run a fever


run a temperature

Law Dictionary


intransitive verb

Legal Definition of run




  1. 1a :  to be or continue to be in operation or effect b :  to proceed toward expiration or effectiveness <statute of limitations began to run when she received notice of the injury> — compare toll

  2. 2 :  to continue to accrue or become payable in an amount increasing with the passing of time <interest running from a particular date>

run with the land

  1. :  to pass as a right or encumbrance upon the transfer of real property <the restrictive covenant ran with the land>

Seen and Heard

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praise given for achievement

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