run·​away | \ ˈrə-nə-ˌwā How to pronounce runaway (audio) \

Definition of runaway

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : one that runs away from danger, duty, or restraint : fugitive
2 : the act of running away out of control also : something (such as a horse) that is running out of control
3 : a one-sided or overwhelming victory



Definition of runaway (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : running away : fugitive
b : leaving to gain special advantages (such as lower wages) or avoid disadvantages (such as governmental or union restrictions) runaway shipping firms a runaway shop
2 : accomplished by elopement or during flight
3 : won by or having a long lead a runaway success also : extremely successful a runaway best seller
4 : subject to uncontrolled changes runaway inflation
5 : being or operating out of control a runaway oil well a runaway nuclear reactor

run away

ran away; run away; running away; runs away

Definition of run away (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to leave quickly in order to avoid or escape something
b : to leave home especially : elope
2 : to run out of control : stampede, bolt
3 : to gain a substantial lead : win by a large margin
run away with
1 : to take away in haste or secretly especially : steal
2 : to outshine the others in (something, such as a theatrical performance)
3 : to carry or drive beyond prudent or reasonable limits your imagination ran away with you

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Examples of runaway in a Sentence

Adjective The play was a runaway success. a region plagued by runaway suburban sprawl Verb ran away from an unhappy marriage the child runs away from large dogs
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The runaway was even bigger in surrounding rural areas, leading to a Trump blowout, 74% to 19%, in the village and three adjoining townships combined. Darrel Rowland, The Enquirer, "Going Home: 'We still live in Mayberry.' Come along with me back home again to Ohio’s Trump Country," 15 Sep. 2020 Golf Manor police reported McCarter missing as an endangered runaway in early July. Mike Schell, The Enquirer, "Gun-sale robbery led to 17-year-old Aurora McCarter's death, court docs say," 17 Aug. 2020 McCarter had been considered an endangered runaway ever since her mother reported her missing. Cameron Knight, The Enquirer, "Glimpses of Aurora McCarter's last days alive provided by court, police documents," 19 Aug. 2020 Kuest instead returned to Riverside Country Club and turned the Utah Open into a runaway on the Cougars’ home course, claiming the $15,000 first prize. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Former BYU golfer Peter Kuest completes a Utah Open runaway," 17 Aug. 2020 The Mobile Police Department has issued a missing person alert for a 15-year-old girl considered a runaway. al, "Mobile police seek help finding 15-year-old runaway," 10 July 2020 One of the passengers is also 15, and a runaway from Ashtabula, and the other passenger is a 16-year-old. cleveland, "Fleeing SUV driven by girl, 15: Cleveland Heights police blotter," 3 July 2020 In a phenomenon known as thermal runaway, a single battery on fire can spread to other battery cells in a vehicle, causing a larger fire. Los Angeles Times, "Tesla battery cooling system is subject of federal safety probe," 1 July 2020 The girl was reported as a runaway on March 11 but returned home March 12, according to court records. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Precinct 4 constable deputy offered $80 to teen for sexual act, police allege," 23 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Tim Stewart was a runaway winner in the 25-lap feature for street stocks. Tony Baranek,, "Rockford’s Michael Bilderback ‘had a class act going out there,’ receives tip of hat from Grundy regulars after winning Bettenhausen Classic 100," 21 Sep. 2020 Dangerfield was the runaway winner for rookie of the year. Doug Feinberg,, "Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson earns WNBA’s MVP award," 17 Sep. 2020 Based on preseason predictions, few Heisman Trophy winners in recent college football history have been as unexpected as last year’s runaway winner, LSU’s Joe Burrow. USA TODAY, "Top 10 Heisman Trophy contenders for the college football season," 8 Sep. 2020 While there's advantages to being the runaway favorite, there is also scrutiny. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, "10 changes to watch for as college football season kicks off," 10 Sep. 2020 Clemson was the runaway favorite for the top spot in the conference earning 132 of the 134 possible first-place votes for 2008. Matt Murschel,, "FSU picked No. 7 in preseason ACC media poll," 4 Sep. 2020 The game was a runaway success and helped move the sport—which some had long viewed as the provenance of misbehaving youth—into the mainstream. Chris Kornelis, WSJ, "Tony Hawk Wants to See Skateboarding Everywhere," 4 Sep. 2020 Nurse, who has the Raptors on the verge of the second round of the playoffs, was a runaway winner, receiving 90 first-place votes from a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Brian Mahoney, Houston Chronicle, "Raptors' Nick Nurse voted NBA Coach of the Year," 22 Aug. 2020 Nurse, who has the Raptors on the verge of the second round of the playoffs, was a runaway winner, receiving 90 first-place votes from a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Brian Mahoney, Star Tribune, "Raptors' Nick Nurse voted NBA Coach of the Year," 22 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'runaway.' 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 runaway


1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


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

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Time Traveler for runaway

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for runaway

Last Updated

24 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Runaway.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for runaway


How to pronounce run away (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of runaway

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: someone (such as a child) who leaves home without permission : someone who runs away from home



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

used to describe a person who has left home without permission or who has escaped from some place
: operating, running, increasing, etc., in a fast and dangerous way that cannot be controlled
: extremely successful


run·​away | \ ˈrə-nə-ˌwā How to pronounce runaway (audio) \

Kids Definition of runaway

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : someone who leaves a place (as home) secretly without intending to return
2 : a horse that is running out of control



Kids Definition of runaway (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having left a place secretly with no intention of returning
2 : escaping from control a runaway horse

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