: any of the characters of any of several alphabets used by the Germanic peoples from about the 3rd to the 13th centuries
[Finnish runo, of Germanic origin; akin to Old Norse rūn]
: a Finnish or Old Norse poem
: poem, song
runic adjective

Illustration of rune

Illustration of rune
  • Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet

Examples of rune in a Sentence

wrote many mournful runes after her lover's untimely death
Recent Examples on the Web Bermudez and Craven saw runes in Iceland, beaches in French Polynesia and temples in Peru. Renée Reizman, Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2023 Alongside the theatre’s Greek Revival architecture, the Loverboy Red Coats combine Mark Rothko’s lyrical application of the color red with Anglo-Saxon runes relating to service and help. Daniel Rodgers, Vogue, 14 Sep. 2023 Splashes of color, bubbles, tubes, machinery, and glowing rocks covered with runes flow across the room in response to what the telescope has found. Matthew Hutson, The New Yorker, 14 Sep. 2023 Gotham People love to read the runes of a private relationship on the most inconsequential of ephemera, and the internet has given a new lens through which all pop cultural phenomena can be ruthlessly examined. Daniel Rodgers, Glamour, 7 Sep. 2023 Schultz wears a necklace with the Viking rune Uruz, another reminder of his journey in the past year. Dave Melton, Chicago Tribune, 25 July 2023 With runes on her face, the color of her hair and all these rituals, Mavka is a new heroine. Marta Balaga, Variety, 12 June 2023 There is speculation that the rune could be for a person buried in the grave, according to Science Norway, especially since the excavation also revealed bones and charcoal. Devika Rao, The Week, 17 Jan. 2023 The shape of the platform drew condemnation on social media for its resemblance to the Odal rune, a symbol adopted by the Nazis during Adolf Hitler's rule in Germany. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, 1 Mar. 2021 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1676, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rune was in 1676

Dictionary Entries Near rune

Cite this Entry

“Rune.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: any of the characters of an alphabet used by the Germanic peoples from about the 3rd to the 13th centuries
runic adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on rune

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