run·​off | \ ˈrən-ˌȯf How to pronounce runoff (audio) \

Definition of runoff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a final race, contest, or election to decide an earlier one that has not resulted in a decision in favor of any one competitor
2 : the portion of precipitation on land that ultimately reaches streams often with dissolved or suspended material

run off

ran off; run off; running off; runs off

Definition of run off (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to recite, compose, or produce rapidly
b : to cause to be run or played to a finish
c : to decide (a race) by a runoff
d : carry out
2 : to drain off : draw off
3a : to drive off (someone, such as a trespasser)
b : to steal (animals, such as cattle) by driving away
run off with
: to carry off : steal ran off with the money

Examples of runoff in a Sentence

Verb the dog often ran off cats and other animals that had intruded upon his owner's property their rebellious daughter's run off because she was disciplined again
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Lars Nelson and Trina Paul won two Utqiagvik seats in Tuesday’s runoff elections for the North Slope Borough Assembly. Alena Naiden, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Nov. 2021 Some of his supporters told Georgia Republicans to sit out the two runoff elections earlier this year, allowing Democrats to win a majority in the Senate. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Oct. 2021 Warnock and fellow Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff both won runoff elections in January to give Democrats control of the U.S. Senate. Adam Brewster, CBS News, 11 Oct. 2021 Residents of Mobile and Birmingham are casting their votes for the two cities’ runoff elections starting 7 a.m. Tuesday. Mary Helene Hall |, al, 5 Oct. 2021 The early voting period during runoff elections has also been shortened. Mekita Rivas, Vogue, 4 Oct. 2021 The Atlanta mayor’s race will require a runoff election on Nov. 30 between Felicia Moore and a second candidate still to be determined. J.d. Capelouto, ajc, 3 Nov. 2021 Turnout for the runoff election was very high, with the early and absentee totals alone surpassing the total votes cast in the first-round. Edward Mckinley, San Antonio Express-News, 2 Nov. 2021 When Kim Janey failed in September to qualify for the mayoral runoff election in Boston, effectively ending her time as the city’s top leader, her political rivals rejoiced and her supporters were dismayed. New York Times, 27 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This time, the Lakers couldn’t keep up with the faster and younger Chicago Bulls after the intermission, getting run off the Staples Center court during a 121-103 defeat before 18,997 fans at Staples Center on Monday night. Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2021 Our founder, Patrick Moorhead, calls Oracle’s Cloud@Customer the simplest hybrid cloud solutions in the industry and one that can be run off-line. Steve Mcdowell, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 And the road rage is palpable and knuckle-clenching as a traveling salesman tries to avoid getting run off the road and killed by a vengeful big rig driver. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 9 June 2021 The sheriff sticks to the Kleinsasser's official story, and Jenny even gets run off their property. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 14 Apr. 2021 His mother-in-law, Esti Shulman, has taken to carrying a stick in the street, after being run off the sidewalk recently by a pack of boars. New York Times, 9 Apr. 2021 One Asian American friend of hers had been shoved into traffic while waiting for the bus, and another acquaintance had nearly been run off the road while doing volunteer food delivery. Eveline Chao, Curbed, 1 Apr. 2021 In 1986, his son Anthony, Allen’s younger brother, died after being thrown from a car when it was deliberately run off the road by a vehicle driven by a white man, according to the two survivors. Tyrone Beason, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2020 South Alabama’s typically excellent defense got run off the field by Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night. Creg Stephenson |, al, 23 Oct. 2021

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


1867, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1680, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Last Updated

24 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Runoff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of runoff

: an additional race, contest, or election that is held because an earlier one has not resulted in a winner
: water from rain or snow that flows over the surface of the ground into streams

More from Merriam-Webster on runoff

Nglish: Translation of runoff for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about runoff


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