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

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 When Kerry’s parents first reported her missing, authorities labeled her as a possible runaway, but her family was adamant that wasn’t the case. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 31 Dec. 2021 With six minutes remaining, a USC lead that once seemed destined to grow into a runaway was cut to a single score. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 30 Oct. 2021 The humans dispatch a hunter (New Zealand star Temuera Morrison) to retrieve the runaway. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 7 Dec. 2021 The report detailed a number of instances in which manufacturers may have overstated the risks of thermal runaway (read: batteries catching fire) or personal data breaches tied to device repairs. Lauren Goode, Wired, 21 July 2021 The Cincinnati Bengals completed their first season sweep of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2009 in decisive fashion with Sunday's 41-10 runaway. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 29 Nov. 2021 But at a press conference on Friday, the Tiger Lady was revealed to be Wendy Louise Baker, a 16-year-old runaway who was last seen in Coatesville, Penn. Chris Harris,, 19 Nov. 2021 Tony Finau made six birdies over his first 13 holes to team up with Harris English and turn an early 1-down deficit into a 4 and 3 runaway over McIlroy and Lowry. Eddie Pells, ajc, 25 Sep. 2021 The plane traveled about 500 feet on the runaway before the crash, according to Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Ray Sanchez, CNN, 24 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After a runaway success and a seven-year hiatus, the author returns to the page with a search for utopia in To Paradise. Seija Rankin,, 11 Jan. 2022 Even at 10-0 and ranked No. 20 in both major polls, Colorado State is not viewed as the runaway favorite by Kenpom, the most respected predictive metric for college basketball. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Dec. 2021 According to Fanduel Sportsbook, Rodgers is the runaway favorite at -175. Rob Reischel, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2021 Clemson the runaway favorite this summer to once more win the ACC title and advance to the College Football Playoff — both for the seventh straight times. Mark Heim |, al, 30 Oct. 2021 Clemson the runaway favorite this summer to once more win the ACC title and advance to the College Football Playoff — both for the seventh straight times. Pete Iacobelli,, 28 Oct. 2021 Corral had a chance to be the runaway favorite for this award. Stephen Means, cleveland, 14 Oct. 2021 In another era, with wins above all, Urías might be a runaway favorite for the Cy Young award. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2021 As the defending two-time 3A champion, and the only undefeated team in their conference, the Crusaders are the runaway favorite to clinch a three-peat state title. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 13 Nov. 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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Dictionary Entries Near runaway

run at


run away

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Statistics for runaway

Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Runaway.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for runaway



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

More from Merriam-Webster on runaway

Nglish: Translation of runaway for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of runaway for Arabic Speakers


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