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

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Examples of runoff in a Sentence


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

Community activists and city officials at the hearing pointed to the ecological benefits of trees, including producing fresh air and controlling water runoff after storms. Jamie Halper,, "City grapples with equity in its tree canopy," 18 June 2018 Also, why not move water runoff above ground as streams, for pedestrians to enjoy? Alex Davies, WIRED, "Lots of Lobbies and Zero Zombies: How Self-Driving Cars Will Reshape Cities," 21 May 2018 Marti Levy, president of the nearby Indian Fields neighborhood association, said some neighbors were in favor of the project and others who live directly north or south of the property had water runoff concerns . Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "Owner of Homestead in Prairie Village aims to give aging country club a new life | The Kansas City Star," 18 May 2018 The money funded creation of a stormwater wetland basin to receive water runoff from a 579-acre hunk of the city before it is discharged into the Fox River. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora to settle lawsuit with environmentally troubled car lot," 10 May 2018 Those benefits include producing shade, improving air quality, reducing storm runoff and enhancing property values. Steven Litt,, "Arbor Day highlights Tree Coalition efforts to help balding Cleveland live up to 'Forest City' nickname," 27 Apr. 2018 In the instant runoff, Mr. Golden received 139,231 votes, or 51%, while Mr. Poliquin collected 136,326 votes, or 49%. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "2018 in The Numbers: Caffeine Fixes, Asylum Seekers and Bad Passwords (Again)," 21 Dec. 2018 The Republican victory in the runoff is particularly significant, concluding a race that was largely seen as a referendum on the recent voting rights controversy. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Republican Brad Raffensperger wins Georgia secretary of state runoff," 5 Dec. 2018 Muharrem Ince, 54, who has served in parliament with the Republican People’s Party since 2002, is expected to win 20% to 30% of the vote, making him the most likely to face Erdogan in a runoff. Umar Farooq,, "Could Turkey's president be in trouble? He faces a stiff challenge in Sunday's election," 23 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Other gaming-specific features include support for the Vulkan 1.1 gaming library, which Qualcomm says can run off 20 percent less power than OpenGL ES. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Qualcomm's Snapdragon 730G processor was built for kick-ass mobile gaming," 9 Apr. 2019 Gibson discharged his spray canister again, and the wind blew the mist back into his eyes as the bears ran off. Matt Volz, The Seattle Times, "Grizzly attacks hunter in mountains north of Yellowstone," 15 Oct. 2018 Keating left a note for the area park ranger and, after watching the bear run off in a direction opposite the trail, climbed Flattop as planned. Kyle Hopkins, Anchorage Daily News, "Bear killed after it smashes SUV window and climbs inside at Anchorage trailhead," 6 July 2018 Parents with children who habitually run off may feel the need to use a child leash, toddler harness, or a backpack with a tether to keep their kids out of harm's way. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "What You Need to Know About Kid Leash Safety, According to Pediatricians," 10 Apr. 2019 The incident took place at Sunday’s Moto2 San Marino Grand Prix, following a collision between the two which led to them running off the track that Fenati felt was Manzi's fault. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "Motorcycle racer banned and fired after grabbing competitor's handbrake," 10 Sep. 2018 The Smart Chime pairs with the Audio Doorbell and runs off a regular wall outlet. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Netgear’s Arlo brand gets a smart doorbell to go with its security cameras," 23 July 2018 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say the accident happened at 1:10 a.m., when McCoy's vehicle struck the curb, ran off the right side of Eastway Drive and went airborne for a short distance. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte man's vehicle hit curb then went airborne before he was killed, police say | Charlotte Observer," 4 May 2018 That means less water can be absorbed into the ground, and more runs off into flooding rivers. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Hurricane Florence will slow down. That’s a bad thing.," 12 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for runoff

Last Updated

22 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for runoff

The first known use of runoff was in 1680

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More Definitions for runoff



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on runoff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with runoff

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

Comments on runoff

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