run

1 of 3

verb

ran ˈran How to pronounce run (audio) also chiefly dialectal run; run; running

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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 step
b
of a horse : to move at a fast gallop
c
: flee, retreat, escape
dropped the gun and ran
d
: to utilize a running play on offense
used of a football team
2
a
: 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-hauled
d
: roam, rove
running about with no overcoat
3
a
: 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
4
a
: to contend in a race
b
: to enter into an election contest
will run for mayor
5
a
: to move on or as if on wheels : glide
file drawers running on ball bearings
b
: to roll forward rapidly or freely
c
: to pass or slide freely
a rope runs through the pulley
d
: to ravel lengthwise
stockings guaranteed not to run
6
: to sing or play a musical passage quickly
run up the scale
7
a
: 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
8
a
: turn, rotate
a swiftly running grindstone
b
: function, operate
the engine runs on gasoline
software that runs on her computer
9
a(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
10
: to pass from one state to another
run into debt
11
a
: to flow rapidly or under pressure
b
: melt, fuse
c
: spread, dissolve
colors guaranteed not to run
d
: to discharge liquid (such as pus or serum)
a running sore
12
a
: to develop rapidly in some specific direction
especially : to throw out an elongated shoot of growth
b
: to tend to produce or develop a specified quality or feature
they run to big noses in that family
13
a
: to lie in or take a certain direction
the boundary line runs east
b
: to lie or extend in relation to something
c
: to go back : reach
d(1)
: to be in a certain form or expression
the letter runs as follows
(2)
: to be in a certain order of succession
14
a
: 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
15
a
: to spread or pass quickly from point to point
chills ran up her spine
b
: to be current : circulate
speculation ran rife

transitive verb

1
a
: to cause (an animal) to go rapidly : ride or drive fast
b
: 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 race
f
: to put forward as a candidate for office
g
: to carry (the football) on a running play
2
a
: to drive (livestock) especially to a grazing place
b
: to provide pasturage for (livestock)
c
: to keep or maintain (livestock) on or as if on pasturage
3
a(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
4
a
: to cause to penetrate or enter : thrust
ran a splinter into her toe
b
: stitch
c
: 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
5
: to cause to pass lightly or quickly over, along, or into something
ran her eye down the list
6
a
: 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
7
a
: to be full of or drenched with
streets ran blood
b
8
a
: 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
9
a
: to melt and cast in a mold
run bullets
b
: treat, process, refine
run oil in a still
run a problem through a computer
10
: to make oneself liable to : incur
ran the risk of discovery
11
: to mark out : draw
run a contour line on a map
12
a
: 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 sense 1
rooms that run $50 a night
13
a
: 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
14
a
: to make (a series of counts) without a miss
run 19 in an inning in billiards
b
: to lead winning cards of (a suit) successively
c
: to alter by addition
ran his record to six wins and four losses
15
: to make (a golf ball) roll forward after alighting
16
baseball : to eject (a player, coach, or manager) from a game
Ron Luciano ran Weaver early in game one of a doubleheader in 1975, and then ran him again during the lineup meeting prior to the start of game two.Jeff Burd
Using Run in the Past Tense: Usage Guide

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.

run

2 of 3

noun

1
a
: an act or the action of running : continued rapid movement
b
: a quickened gallop
c
: a migration of fish (as up or down a river) especially to spawn
also : such fish in the process of migration
d
: a running race
a mile run
e
: a score made in baseball by a runner reaching home plate safely
f
: strength or ability to run
g
: a gain of a usually specified distance made on a running play in football
scored on a 25-yard run
also : a running play
h
: a sustained usually aggressive effort (as to win or obtain something)
making a run at the championship
2
a
chiefly Midland US : creek sense 1
b
: something that flows in the course of an operation or during a particular time
the first run of sap in sugar maples
3
a
: the stern of the underwater body of a ship from where it begins to curve or slope upward and inward
b
: the direction in which a vein of ore lies
c
: 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
: a continuous period or series especially of things of identical or similar sort
a run of bad luck
: such as
a
: a rapid passage up or down a scale in vocal or instrumental music
b
: a number of rapid small dance steps executed in even tempo
c
: 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 observations
f
: persistent and heavy demands from depositors, creditors, or customers
a run on a bank
5
: the quantity of work turned out in a continuous operation
a press run of 10,000 copies
6
: the usual or normal kind, character, type, or group
the average run of students
7
a
: the distance covered in a period of continuous traveling or sailing
b
: a course or trip especially if mapped out and traveled with regularity
c
: a news reporter's regular territory : beat
d
: freedom of movement in or access to a place or area
has the run of the house
8
a
: the period during which a machine or plant is in continuous operation
b
: the use of machinery for a single set of processing procedures
a computer run
9
a
: a way, track, or path frequented by animals
b
: an enclosure for domestic animals where they may feed or exercise
c Australia
(1)
: a large area of land used for grazing
a sheep run
(2)
: ranch, station
run-holder
d
: an inclined passageway
10
a
: an inclined course (as for skiing or bobsledding)
b
: a support (such as a track, pipe, or trough) on which something runs
11
a
: a ravel in a knitted fabric (as in hosiery) caused by the breaking of stitches
b
: a paint defect caused by excessive flow
12
runs plural in form but singular or plural in construction : diarrhea
used with the
runless adjective

run

3 of 3

adjective

1
a
: being in a melted state
run butter
b
: made from molten material : cast in a mold
run metal
2
of fish : having made a migration or spawning run
a fresh run salmon
3
: exhausted or winded from running
Phrases
run across
: to meet with or discover by chance
run a fever or run a temperature
: to have a fever
run after
1
: pursue, chase
especially : to seek the company of
2
: to take up with : follow
run after new theories
run against
1
: to meet suddenly or unexpectedly
2
: to work or take effect unfavorably to : disfavor, oppose
run a tight ship
: to have strict and exacting standards in controlling or managing something (such as a business)
run by or run past
: to present to (as for evaluation)
ran some ideas by her
run circles around or run rings around
: to show marked superiority over : defeat decisively or overwhelmingly
run dry
1
: to use up an available supply
2
: to become exhausted or spent
his inspiration had run dry
run interference
: to provide assistance by or as if by clearing a path through obstructions
ran interference for me with the press
run into
1
a
: to change or transform into : become
b
: to merge with
c
: to mount up to
their yearly income often runs into six figures
2
a
: to collide with
b
: to meet by chance
ran into an old classmate the other day
run low on
: to approach running out of
running low on options
run one's mouth
: to talk excessively or foolishly
run riot
1
: to act wildly or without restraint
2
: to occur in profusion
daffodils running riot
run short
: to become insufficient
run short of
: to use up : run low on
run the numbers
: to perform calculations
run the table
1
: to sink all remaining shots without missing in pool
2
: to win all remaining contests
run to
: to mount up to
the book runs to 500 pages
run upon
: to run across : meet with
run with
1
: to use or exploit fully : make the most of
took the idea and ran with it
2
: to publicize widely
the press ran with the quote
on the run
1
: in haste : without pausing
ate lunch on the run
2
: in retreat : in flight (as from the law)
an escaped convict on the run
run for one's money
: 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

Verb How fast can you run? He runs faster than anyone else on the team. She ran up the stairs to get her jacket. We ran for the train—but missed it. I heard her scream and ran to help. She ran to me for help. The dog ran away from me. The dog ran toward me. When I called the dog, he came running. Don't expect me to come running every time you want something. I'm not your servant. Noun He goes for a six-mile run every evening. She took the dogs out for a run. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
That’s because even those Netflix subscribers on the cheaper advertising tier will still get a commercial-free experience when the telecast runs live on Saturday at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. Michael Schneider, Variety, 24 Feb. 2024 Martinez is running for the 57th state Assembly district, which takes in parts of downtown L.A., South L.A. and southeast L.A. County. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2024 In this year's primary, voters have already cast about 205,000 ballots during an early voting period, which ran from Feb. 12-22. Ashley Lopez, NPR, 24 Feb. 2024 The iconic show ran for six seasons from 1998 to 2004. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 24 Feb. 2024 Sunday’s race, which starts at 3 p.m. on FOX, marks the first time Atlanta has hosted the second race of the season since 2019 — after the 1.54-mile track was reconfigured to run the superspeedway package. Shane Connuck, Charlotte Observer, 24 Feb. 2024 Additional presales will run throughout the week ahead of the general on-sale beginning on March 1 at 10 a.m. local time on jellyroll615.com. Marcus K. Dowling, USA TODAY, 24 Feb. 2024 Timberlake ran the highest last race speed figure, 12 points clear of the next closest reading. Jay Ginsbach, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2024 During this time, Clark said Harford began to run into financial troubles. Daniella Segura, Sacramento Bee, 23 Feb. 2024
Noun
This year’s fair runs July 25-28 and Aug. 1-4, during which there will be a people’s choice contest for the best grade level and overall posters. Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, 25 Feb. 2024 Anaheim Canyon 52, Rancho Cucamonga 43: A 12-2 run to start the fourth quarter helped Canyon win the Division 4AA championship in Ontario. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 25 Feb. 2024 But a 12-2 Cathedral Catholic run had the lead back to 11. Grossmont cut that to four with 3:27 to play but could get no closer. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Feb. 2024 Fletcher Place fine dining restaurant Bluebeard announced the hire of new executive chef Alan Sternberg on Friday, marking the end of a nearly 12-year run with chef Abbi Merriss. The Indianapolis Star, 24 Feb. 2024 During her gubernatorial run that year, Lake voiced strong support for Arizona’s Civil War-era law that criminalized the procedure for doctors. Ronald J. Hansen, The Arizona Republic, 24 Feb. 2024 So was a brief run of the television prequel, The Carrie Diaries from 2013 to 2014. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 24 Feb. 2024 San Francisco and Buffalo circled one another in the late '80s and early '90s, with San Francisco winning two titles prior to – and another after – the Bills' run of four consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 With about 13 minutes remaining West Virginia was still hanging around, trailing 58-48, but this is when the Horned Frogs put together their decisive run. Steven Johnson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 13 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'run.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1685, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of run was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near run

Cite this Entry

“Run.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/run. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

run

1 of 2 verb
ran ˈran How to pronounce run (audio) ; run; running
1
a
: to go at a pace faster than a walk
b
: to take to flight : flee
made the enemy run
2
: to move or allow to move freely about
chickens running loose
running around without a coat
3
a
: to go or cause to go rapidly or hurriedly
run and get the doctor
b
: to go in pursuit of : chase
had run the woodchuck into its hole
4
: to do something by or as if by running
run errands
5
a
: to take part in a race
b
: to be or cause to be a candidate in an election
ran for mayor
6
a
: to move on or as if on wheels
b
: to ravel lengthwise
stockings guaranteed not to run
7
a
: to go back and forth
the bus runs every hour
b
: to migrate or move in schools
especially : to go up a river to spawn
shad are running in the river
8
a
: operate sense 1
I can run that machine
left the engine running
b
: to cause to be treated or operated on : process
ran my program on the computer
9
: to continue in force or operation
the contract has two years to run
the play ran for six months
10
: to pass into a specified condition
run into debt
11
a
: to move as a liquid : flow
b
: to dissolve and spread out
colors guaranteed not to run
c
: to give off liquid
my nose is running
12
: to tend to develop a specified quality or feature
one of those people who run to fat
13
a
: extend sense 4
the boundary line runs east
b
: to be in a certain form or order
14
a
: to occur again and again
a song running through my head
a condition that runs in their family
b
: to exist or occur in a continuous range of variation
15
: to be in circulation
speculation ran wild
16
: trace entry 2 sense 2a
ran the rumor to its source
17
: to slip through or past
run a blockade
18
: to pass over, across, or through
19
a
: to cause or allow to go
ran the rascals out of town
ran the car off the road
b
: to be in charge of : manage
run a factory
20
: to make oneself liable to : incur
ran the risk of discovery

run

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: an act or the action of running
b
: a fast gallop
c
: an annual migration of fish up a river especially to spawn
also : a group of fish migrating especially to spawn
d
: a running race
the 1500-meter run
e
: a score made in baseball by a base runner reaching home plate
2
a
chiefly Midland : creek sense 2
b
: something that flows especially during a certain time
the first run of maple sap
3
a
: the horizontal distance from one point to another
b
: general tendency or direction
4
: a continuous series especially of similar things
a long run of cloudy days
5
: sudden heavy demands from depositors, creditors, or customers
a run on a bank
6
: the quantity of work turned out in a continuous operation
also : a period of continuous operation
7
: the usual or normal kind
average run of students
8
a
: the distance covered in a period of continuous traveling
b
: regular course or trip
the bus makes four runs daily
c
: freedom of movement
has the run of the house
9
a
: a way, track, or path often traveled by animals
b
: an enclosure for animals where they may feed or exercise
10
a
: an inclined course (as for skiing)
b
: a track or guide on which something runs
11
: a ravel in a knitted fabric
12
plural : diarrhea
had a bad case of the runs

Medical Definition

run

intransitive verb
ran ˈran How to pronounce run (audio) ; run; running
: to discharge fluid (as pus or serum)
a running sore

Legal Definition

run

intransitive verb
ran; run; running
1
a
: 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
: to continue to accrue or become payable in an amount increasing with the passing of time
interest running from a particular date

More from Merriam-Webster on run

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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