\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

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Other Words from run


runless \ˈrən-​ləs \ adjective

Synonyms for run

Synonyms: Verb

dash, gallop, jog, scamper, sprint, trip, trot

Synonyms: Noun

current, direction, drift, leaning, tendency, tide, trend, wind

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her mother, who now co-runs Chopra’s film-production company, was a gynecologist. Abby Aguirre, Vogue, "When Priyanka Met Nick: A Love Story," 29 Nov. 2018 Baby's First Restaurant in Matunuck Knowing the first few weeks of our son's life would be a blur of feedings and Target runs, my husband split his paternity leave in two, reserving the second half for a family getaway. Jordi Lippe-mcgraw, Condé Nast Traveler, "Maternity Moons Are Now a Thing," 28 Nov. 2018 More people than ever are biking and even running (!) to work. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "The 2 Things That Will Help Motivate You to Be More Active, According to a New Strava Report," 28 Nov. 2018 Fallout 76 ran smoothly—at least for us—in the first 24 hours after release. Sarah Leboeuf, Ars Technica, "Two weeks in, Fallout 76 is a lonely, glitchy, flawed mess," 28 Nov. 2018 The group allegedly ran two separate but related fraud schemes. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Eight people charged with running a multimillion-dollar online ad scam," 27 Nov. 2018 Family runs deep, even when distance and time zones separate people from one another. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "Embracing nature—and minimalism—in North Carolina," 26 Nov. 2018 His son now ran for vice president, became a senator. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Memo from a ‘Facebook nation’ to Mark Zuckerberg: You moved fast and broke our country.," 26 Nov. 2018 The sale, which begins today online, runs until November 24th at 11:59 a.m. PST. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "The Kylie Cosmetics Black Friday Deals You Need to Buy," 23 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Meanwhile, polls had shown Stefanowski giving Lamont a real run for his money. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Ned Lamont elected governor of Connecticut," 7 Nov. 2018 It was supposed to be a quick flight on a regular run for the airline. Barbara S. Peterson, Popular Mechanics, "How Could a Brand New Boeing Jet Crash Without Warning?," 31 Oct. 2018 Unfortunately, these pants were a limited run for JCPenney in 2013, and are no longer available. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "The Item I Wear To Death: My Duro Olowu Silk Cuffed Pants," 17 Oct. 2018 No one rocks a pony like Ari, but these two are giving her a run for her money. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Ariana Grande Made the Funniest Joke on a Picture of Kim Kardashian and North West," 1 Oct. 2018 Plus, it's made with natural extracts of citrus, basil, and bois de rose, giving that typical sunscreen smell a run for its money. Tanisha Pina, Allure, "Supergoop Is Having a Major Friends and Family Sale on All Its Products," 27 Sep. 2018 The Swede made a run for it; the summons failed to be duly delivered. Toivo Tänavsuu, Ars Technica, "“How can they be so good?”: The strange story of Skype," 3 Sep. 2018 November 28, 2004, when the TSA screened 2,713,864 passengers and crew—may be given a run for its money this weekend, since Friday alone is expected to see 2.76 million passengers. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "More Than 16 Million People to Fly Over Labor Day Weekend," 29 Aug. 2018 Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, who explored a run for governor but ultimately decided to stay out of the race, watched from the front row on Thursday night. Neil Vigdor,, "Rival Democrats Ned Lamont And Joe Ganim Exchange Barbs In Raucous Debate," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Since the introduction of the wild card in 1995, 45 of the 46 teams that led their league in run differential reached the postseason, with the 2005 Cleveland Indians serving as the lone exception. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Why the Los Angeles Dodgers Are Feeling Blue," 12 Sep. 2018 Also called mental skills coaches, these psychologists help athletes manage everything from run-of-the-mill jitters to clinical anxiety. Taylyn Washington-harmon, SELF, "How Olympic Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad Deals With the Unexpected Physical Symptoms of Anxiety," 24 July 2018 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

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.

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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"

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Learn More about run

Statistics for run

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for run

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

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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.

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\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

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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).


living or existing for a long time

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