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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun SafeCore acts as a circuit breaker to prevent lithium-ion batteries from igniting from internal shorts, overcharging or overheating — which is known as thermal runaway. Mike Freeman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Feb. 2022 She was reported as a runaway to police on Oct. 18. Brieanna J. Frank, The Arizona Republic, 31 Mar. 2022 Tribbitt, a runaway, was found facedown, tied with cords and surrounded by garbage not far from where Simmons’ family lived, according to court documents. Fox News, 17 Apr. 2022 With no foul play suspected, the police labeled Aundria a runaway and passed her case along to the Youth Services Bureau. Longreads, 9 Sep. 2021 Stanford looked like it was primed for another runaway, using an 11-1 run to build an early 12-point lead. oregonlive, 6 Mar. 2022 Stanford looked like it was primed for another runaway, using an 11-1 run to build an early 12-point lead. The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 Mar. 2022 The poignant tale draws inspiration from an article Morrison came across about a real-life runaway who killed her own daughter instead of letting her return to captivity. Timothy Harrison, Vogue, 26 Feb. 2022 But each died alone, often after becoming homeless, jobless or a runaway. Washington Post, 3 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Miami Heat will hope to stop the runaway train that is Sixers center Joel Embiid. Xl Media, cleveland, 10 May 2022 Traffic deaths are on a silent runaway train in Indianapolis. Kayla Dwyer, IndyStar, 2 May 2022 The runaway train is analogous to excessive greenhouse gas emissions which continue to grow. Hersh Shefrin, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 All Means, and plenty of aghast characters trying to slow down the runaway Theranos train, to make these points without the show highlighting them in bold. Caroline Framke, Variety, 25 Feb. 2022 As long as Congress remains unwilling or unable to play its part in legislating on crucial tech issues, though, the runaway train could fully derail. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 7 Jan. 2022 The same goes for unhelpful thoughts, patterns and behaviors that can set off your anxiety like a runaway train. Karen Kaplan Science And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 28 Dec. 2021 And so this example of more rapid accumulation of carbon in deciduous broadleaf stands is a way of thinking of putting the brakes on the runaway train. Emily Schwing, Scientific American, 14 Dec. 2021 After two years at home during a pandemic, Ms. Nicoleta said, people have a new appreciation for anything that makes domestic life feel romantic (see also: the runaway success of the nap dress). Rory Satran, WSJ, 30 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Runaway.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for runaway


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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