runaway

1 of 3

noun

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

runaway

2 of 3

adjective

1
a
: 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 bestseller
4
: subject to uncontrolled changes
runaway inflation
5
: being or operating out of control
a runaway oil well
a runaway nuclear reactor

run away

3 of 3

verb

ran away; run away; running away; runs away

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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

see also run away with

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Here's how much snow has fallen in 2024 so far The Reddit forum that Langstaff met the victim on was allegedly for runaways and there were multiple contacts between the girl and Langstaff leading up to her departure, according to the affidavit. Kira Caspers, The Arizona Republic, 28 Mar. 2024 Teddi told Dateline Nevaeh had run off before and was initially listed as a runaway. Dateline Nbc, NBC News, 6 Mar. 2024 What had been a UCLA runaway was suddenly tilting heavily in the other direction as Marquette took a 50-45 lead before Bruins freshman guard Ilane Fibleuil buried a three-pointer. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 21 Nov. 2023 In one case in 2022, a 15-year-old runaway broke into a nearby residence and cut the throat of a 77-year-old woman. The Indianapolis Star, 5 Mar. 2024 Test shows explosive power of a lithium-ion battery thermal runaway 01:31 Climate can also affect battery operation. Wesley Chang, CBS News, 5 Mar. 2024 Chen, whose research is partly funded by GM and the U.S. Department of Energy, has studied the cause of thermal runaway, which is the formation of lithium dendrite, a metal that can grow in tree-branch-like patterns along the battery. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, 1 Mar. 2024 Children who are classified as runaways, which advocates say happens more often to children of color, can also receive less attention from law enforcement. USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 In the past five weeks, the Missouri Highway Patrol assisted Wayne County authorities after runaways from ABM Ministries were reported, said Highway Patrol Sgt. Laura Bauer, Kansas City Star, 21 Feb. 2024
Adjective
In June, a neighborhood in McKinney, Texas woke up to a shocking sight: 40 runaway goats strolling around—and taking bites out of—residents’ lawns after breaking away from a herd grazing at a nearby development. Amarachi Orie, CNN, 4 Apr. 2024 Mary Walrath-Holdridge An Oregon man is counting his lucky stars this week after a runaway saw blade missed him by seconds. USA TODAY, 1 Apr. 2024 The impact of the runaway blade was felt by everyone in Quicktrips, owner Amit Grewal told the outlet. Bailey Richards, Peoplemag, 31 Mar. 2024 Its runaway success paved the way for Calvin Klein’s CK One, Hermès’s H24, Comme des Garçons’s 8 88, and all the rest. The Editors, Robb Report, 28 Mar. 2024 But last year, its staff sat down and concluded a forthcoming treatment was worth up to $3.9 million — more than any medicine in history, more than a 45-year supply of Humira, the autoimmune drug often held up as an emblem of America’s runaway drug spending. Jason Mast, STAT, 28 Mar. 2024 From renowned law enforcer Bass Reeves, who was a runaway slave who eventually became a U.S. Marshall, to Stagecoach Mary, who was one of the first women to be a mail route carrier in America, the historical footprint of Black cowboys and cowgirls runs deep. Lynnette Nicholas, Essence, 25 Mar. 2024 The series has become a runaway hit largely thanks to Mr. Cumming, who hosts it with campy archness. Juan A. Ramírez, New York Times, 21 Mar. 2024 This meant the history about the Buffalo Soldiers, the Houston Riots of 1917, where 19 soldiers from the all-Black 24th Infantry Regiment were executed, and the Black Seminoles, runaway slaves who joined forces with the Seminole Indians in Florida. Kamal Morgan, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3 Mar. 2024
Verb
The thief is seen in the security video rummaging through her purse and running away. Chris Eberhart, Fox News, 9 Apr. 2024 Taylor wanted to correct the report and let police know her son would not have run away. Jake Allen, The Indianapolis Star, 5 Apr. 2024 The sound of the officers’ gunshots triggered a stampede on Ocean Drive as spring breakers ran away from the area. Aaron Leibowitz, Miami Herald, 1 Apr. 2024 An officer handcuffed Jackson and took him away from the crowd, but Jackson is accused of trying to run away after the officer sat him down on a golf cart, according to the NBA crime library. Laura Daniella Sepulveda, The Arizona Republic, 29 Mar. 2024 Before his escape in August, R previously tried to run away in July, on a night when he was forced to sleep outside on the patio. Liam Quinn, Peoplemag, 26 Mar. 2024 The Star first wrote about allegations involving Lighthouse Christian Academy in Wayne County last month after five boys ran away in less than a four-week period. Laura Bauer, Kansas City Star, 26 Mar. 2024 Ever feel like running away from home to join a musical? Frank Rizzo, Variety, 22 Mar. 2024 And by running away from the animal—particularly by running away in different directions—the couple inadvertently made the situation a whole lot worse. Tristan Kennedy, WIRED, 21 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'runaway.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near runaway

Cite this Entry

“Runaway.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/runaway. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

runaway

1 of 3 noun
run·​away ˈrən-ə-ˌwā How to pronounce runaway (audio)
1
: a person who runs away : fugitive
2
: the act of running away out of control
also : something (as a horse) that is running out of control

runaway

2 of 3 adjective
1
: running away : fugitive
2
: being out of control

run away

3 of 3 verb
ˌrən-ə-ˈwā
1
: to leave in a hurry especially to escape from danger or confinement
2
: to leave home

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