\ˈrün \

Definition of rune 

1 : any of the characters of any of several alphabets used by the Germanic peoples from about the 3rd to the 13th centuries

2 : mystery, magic

3 [ Finnish runo, of Germanic origin; akin to Old Norse rūn ]

a : a Finnish or Old Norse poem

b : poem, song

Illustration of rune

Illustration of rune

rune 1: Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet

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Other Words from rune

runic \ ˈrü-​nik \ adjective

Synonyms for rune


lyric, poem, song, verse

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Examples of rune in a Sentence

wrote many mournful runes after her lover's untimely death

Recent Examples on the Web

It was likely adopted by Nazis as significant because of its alleged relationship to ancient Germanic runes and sagas — and perhaps even the round table of Britain's legendary King Arthur. Elizabeth Schumacher, USA TODAY, "Shakira selling Nazi-like trinket for 'El Dorado' tour," 21 June 2018 More blatant extremist symbols and racist slogans have largely disappeared from stadiums in recent years, often replaced with coded messages using Viking runes and other symbols with significance on the Russian far right. NBC News, "Anti-gay, racist chants on rise in Russia ahead of World Cup," 30 May 2018 Images captured by Getty photographer Spencer Platt show the group giving Nazi salutes while burning large effigies of a swastika and an othala rune — a pagan symbol associated with Aryanism — in the field behind the bar. Madeline Mcgee, ajc, "Rural Georgia bar hosts neo-Nazis for swastika-burning after rally," 27 Apr. 2018 His pictures show a massing burning swastika and an othala rune – a pagan symbol that was used by some elements of the Third Reich. Time, "Neo-Nazis Burned a Swastika After Their Rally in Georgia," 22 Apr. 2018 And outside of combat, Atreus contributes other unique skills that are vital to progress, like translating Norse runes that Kratos can’t read. Scott Meslow, GQ, "How God of War Redeems the Worst Kind of Video Game Mission," 18 Apr. 2018 No more fitting in a capital letter, a number, an ancient rune, a block of Chinese calligraphy and a family secret into a password? Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things for April 6: Trump, South Korea, opioids, race and police, CDC scientist," 6 Apr. 2018 Even so, the presence of the Tyr rune on the team’s sweater design was enough to raise alarms. Richard Martyn-hemphill, New York Times, "Norway Ski Team’s Sweater Gets Tangled in a Neo-Nazi Uproar," 30 Jan. 2018 The runes on the Silver Knight’s bow are great; the featureless fabric of the Dancer of the Boreal Valley’s cloak is not. Tom Mendelsohn, Ars Technica, "Dark Souls: The Board Game," 16 Sep. 2017

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

1676, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rune

Old Norse & Old English rūn mystery, runic character, writing; akin to Old High German rūna secret discussion, Old Irish rún mystery

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Dictionary Entries near rune

run down







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Time Traveler for rune

The first known use of rune was in 1676

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English Language Learners Definition of rune

: any of the characters in the alphabets that were used in ancient times by people of Northern Europe

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rune Encyclopedia article about rune

Comments on rune

What made you want to look up rune? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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