\ˈrən \
ran\ˈran \ also chiefly dialectal run; run; running

Definition of run 

(Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

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 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

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-hauled

d : roam, rove running about with no overcoat

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

4a : to contend in a race

b : to enter into an election contest will run for mayor

5a : 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

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

8a : turn, rotate a swiftly running grindstone

b : function, operate the engine runs on gasoline software that runs on her computer

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

10 : to pass from one state to another run into debt

11a : 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

12a : 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

13a : 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

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

15a : to spread or pass quickly from point to point chills ran up her spine

b : to be current : circulate speculation ran rife

transitive verb

1a : 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

2a : 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

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

4a : 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

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

7a : to be full of or drenched with streets ran blood

b : contain, assay

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

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

10 : to make oneself liable to : incur ran the risk of discovery

11 : to mark out : draw run a contour line on a map

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 sense 1 rooms that run $50 a night

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

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) 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

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

1a : to change or transform into : become

b : to merge with

c : to mount up to their yearly income often runs into six figures

2a : 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



Definition of run (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : 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

2a chiefly Midland : 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

3a : 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

g : sequence sense 2b

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

7a : 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

8a : 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

9a : 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

10a : an inclined course (as for skiing or bobsledding)

b : a support (such as a track, pipe, or trough) on which something runs

11a : 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

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



Definition of run (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from run


runless \ˈrən-ləs \ adjective

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.

Examples of run in a Sentence


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.


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

Just one bad day, or running into a hot player during match play, could end Shepherd's week. Clifton Brown, Indianapolis Star, "Center Grove's Erica Shepherd looking for repeat junior title, LPGA future," 14 July 2018 Urton, a white man who worked for the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, was driving on Kenton Street in Walnut Hills, when a 4-year-old boy ran into the street and Urton struck the boy with his Chevrolet Malibu. Kevin Grasha,, "Racially charged murder trial canceled because of 'new evidence'," 13 July 2018 In security footage, the teen can be seen running into the deli to hide from his attackers. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Justice For Junior: NY proposes legislation to require small businesses to be safe havens for minors," 13 July 2018 Metcalfe then ran into the woods as the victim called police, the report says. Jesse Leavenworth,, "Manchester Police: Man Tried Stabbing Another Man Who Rejected Sexual Advance," 13 July 2018 The car that flipped over was driving southbound on St. Andrews Church Road when the driver lost control and ran into another vehicle that was stopped at the traffic light headed in the same direction, Mitchell said. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "Police say driver in rollover crash in PRP will be charged with DUI," 13 July 2018 If housing prices drop, much of that debt could soon run into trouble. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "China’s Land Grab Could End Badly," 13 July 2018 Celmatix makes money by offering its big data insights to fertility clinics for an annual fee based on patient volume, which can run into the six figures. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "This Company Wants Your Fertility Data," 13 July 2018 But the company has struggled for years, running into problems even before the 2014 oil bust that devastated the sector. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Weatherford finally sells its Middle East land rig business," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

From the leadoff spot, Clifford ended his week 9-for-13 with seven RBIs and six runs. Blake Baumgartner, Naperville Sun, "Middle men: Nick Taylor and Nolan Clifford answer call but Neuqua Valley loses in eight innings," 13 July 2018 Registration will be from 8-9 a.m. followed by the walk/run from 9-10 a.m. and a vendor fair from 10-11 a.m. The cost of to participate as walker/runner is $25, which includes a T-shirt. Staff Report, Post-Tribune, "Community news," 13 July 2018 Pacman’’ Jones was attacked during a run-in with a facility-service employee at the airport in Atlanta., "Astros punish Ken Giles by sending him to Triple A," 12 July 2018 Following a unexpected run-in with an animal, Hollywood stars who lived to tell the tale sit down to recount their stories on Animal Planet's newest series Celebrity Animal Encounters. Sydney Odman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Animal Planet Greenlights Star-Studded Animated Series 'Celebrity Animal Encounters' (Exclusive)," 12 July 2018 Rhys Hoskins recently had a run-in with an outfield wall. Noel Harris, sacbee, "Rhys Hoskins is in the Home Run Derby. Why he wanted a different All-Star celebration," 11 July 2018 Cruz had had several run-ins with law enforcement in the neighborhood. Nicholas Nehamas And David Ovalle, miamiherald, "‘I can go shoot them.’ Another threat from Parkland school shooter went ignored.," 11 July 2018 But for half a year, the run-in with his then-NASCAR teammate was a pebble in his shoe. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Erik Jones could have celebrated his first NASCAR Cup win all night, but the Slinger Nationals were calling," 10 July 2018 Tencent and Bytedance have had several high-profile run-ins. Liza Lin, WSJ, "China Bans Ads on Booming Video App," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

This Yankees lineup — which owns baseball’s third-highest run total — is the best cast of hitters the Phillies have played this season. Matt Breen,, "Phillies shut out by Yankees as defense fails Jake Arrieta again," 26 June 2018 Cactus juice: Two of the players in the middle of the Brewers' improbable seven-run ninth inning in Wednesday's 10-10 tie with the San Francisco Giants were, not surprisingly, Nate Orf and Kyle Wren. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Camp report: Wade Miley, Brent Suter are impressive in a victory over the Diamondbacks," 1 Mar. 2018 Logic suggests that the most effective tool of run prevention is the strikeout. Alex Speier,, "What’s up with all the strikeouts in Major League Baseball?," 12 July 2018 Cashner, whose has been given the worst run support among all the Orioles’ starters, failed to catch a toss from first baseman Chris Davis while covering first base on No. Eduardo A. Encina,, "Cashner's quality start, Schoop's two homers not enough in Orioles' 5-2 loss to Twins," 6 July 2018 While these kinds of punishments would seem run-of-the-mill for any wealthy suburban high school — or their even wealthier private counterparts — Janelle’s teachers do not approve of these tactics., "The Affair," 2 July 2018 On the mound Marlins RHP Jose Urena (1-8, 4.59 ERA, 1.22 WHP) vs. Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman (3-5, 4.58, 1.40): Urena has suffered from lack of run support (3.51 runs per game). Craig Davis,, "Preview: Marlins at Orioles, Friday, 7:05 p.m.," 14 June 2018 Yes, shortages of ARVs occurred in some places last year, but that was only because of speed bumps in a shift away from regional drug purchase and distribution to a more streamlined, cost-effective federally run program. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Russia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is getting worse, not better," 11 June 2018 Privacy - Terms The scoring output was the most run support Urena has received in any of his 13 starts this season surpassing the previous high of four. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "Finally, a victory both for the Marlins and their previously winless starting pitcher," 5 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'run.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of run


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


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


1685, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about run

Statistics for run

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for run

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for run



Financial Definition of run

What It Is

A run occurs when a flood of depositors withdraw their funds from a bank within a short time frame.

How It Works

It’s important to remember one thing about banks: They don’t keep your money in cash in a vault. Rather, when people deposit funds in a bank, the bank lends a portion of those funds out to people who want loans for houses, cars, businesses or whatever else. Accordingly, depositing $100 into your bank account doesn’t mean there is $100 sitting in the vault.

By lending out deposits, banks make money in the form of interest. However, they must keep a portion of those deposits on hand at all times to support the day-to-day inflow and outflow of funds that depositors need.

So, for example, let’s say that John Doe reads a rumor on the Internet that Bank XYZ is getting ready to go bankrupt. Worried about the money in his checking and savings account there, John runs over to the bank and withdraws all of his money. He also tells his sister, his nephews and his parents, who also withdraw their money. Rumors of Bank XYZ’s demise spread over the Internet like wildfire. Soon, more people withdraw their funds or transfer them to other banks.

The rumor is not true and Company XYZ [Bank XYZ?] is in fine financial health. But by this point, Bank XYZ has given out so much cash from its vault that now it really is having a hard time fulfilling the withdrawal requests from its customers. Now the news goes national, and every depositor of Company XYZ hears that you’d better get your money out now before there’s none left. The downward cycle continues.

Eventually, the withdrawals reach a point where Company XYZ is drained of cash, actually does become financially unstable, and goes under. The run becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Why It Matters

Bank runs can destabilize the banking system quickly, which is why the Federal Reserve sets a reserve requirement for banks. For example, let’s assume that Bank XYZ has $400,000,000 in deposits. If the Federal Reserve’s reserve ratio requirement is 10%, Bank XYZ must keep at least $40,000,000 in an account at a Federal Reserve bank and may not use that cash for lending or any other purpose. This ensures that Bank XYZ always has some money on hand to prevent a run. If a bank is unable to meet its reserve ratio, it can borrow from the Federal Reserve to meet the requirement.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of run

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of run (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of running

: a continuous series of similar things

: a continuous series of performances or showings


\ˈrən \
ran\ˈran \; run; running

Kids Definition of run

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to go at a pace faster than a walk

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

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

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

5 : function entry 2 That old car is still running.

6 : to cause to function Can you run this machine?

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

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

9 : flow entry 1 sense 1 A brook runs through the field.

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

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

12 : to take part in a race

13 : to move on or as if on wheels

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

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

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

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

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

19 : to give off liquid My nose is running.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

run away

: to leave home secretly without intending to return

run into

: to meet by chance

run off

: to leave in a hurry

run out

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

2 : to become used up Supplies were running out.

run out of

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

run over



Kids Definition of run (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 : the distance covered in a period of continuous traveling

9 : a regular course or trip

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

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

12 : slope entry 1 sense 1 a ski run

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

Keep scrolling for more

\ˈrən \
ran\ˈran \; run; running

Medical Definition of run 

: to discharge fluid (as pus or serum) a running sore

run a fever or run a temperature

: to have a fever

ran; run; running

Legal Definition of run 

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 : 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

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on run

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for run

Spanish Central: Translation of run

Nglish: Translation of run for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of run for Arabic Speakers

Comments on run

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


not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!