run·​ner | \ˈrə-nər \

Definition of runner 

1a : one that runs : racer

b : base runner

c : ballcarrier

2a : messenger

b : one that smuggles or distributes illicit or contraband goods (such as drugs, liquor, or guns)

3 : any of several large vigorous carangid fishes

4a : either of the longitudinal pieces on which a sled or sleigh slides

b : the part of a skate that slides on the ice : blade

c : the support of a drawer or a sliding door

5a : an elongated horizontal stem arising from the base of a plant especially : stolon sense 1a

b : a plant (such as a strawberry) that forms or spreads by means of runners

c : a twining vine (such as a scarlet runner bean)

6a : a long narrow carpet for a hall or staircase

b : a narrow decorative cloth cover for a table or dresser top

7 : an adjustable backstay running from mast to rail on a sail boat or ship

8 : a running shot in basketball

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Synonyms for runner


courier, express [British], go-between, messenger, page

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Examples of runner in a Sentence

The runner slid into third base. sent a runner to tell them that all was ready for the feast

Recent Examples on the Web

Meantime, the Golden State Warriors have emerged as front-runners for Manny. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty: Imagine if the Reds were buyers instead of sellers at MLB trade deadline," 13 July 2018 First, Anthony Rizzo’s two-out double on a full-count slider off the plate from Hand scored pinch-runner Jason Heyward from first base to tie the game 4-4. Kevin Acee,, "Things fall apart quickly for Padres in loss to Cubs," 13 July 2018 On the right, Dunleavy, a former state senator, is believed to be the GOP front-runner. Kelsey Brugger, Scientific American, "Alaska Wants to Fight Warming While Still Drilling for Oil," 12 July 2018 Newsom, who finished eight points ahead of Cox in the June primary, is taking a typical front-runner’s attitude toward the suggestion of a series of debates: Don’t count on it. Joe Garofoli,, "Gavin Newsom agrees to one debate with John Cox in CA governor race — on CNN," 12 July 2018 After that first sit-down, Kavanaugh emerged as the clear front-runner. Author: Ashley Parker, Robert Costa, Anchorage Daily News, "‘All a little misdirection’: Inside Trump’s sometimes-wavering decision to nominate Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 After that first sit-down, Kavanaugh emerged as the clear front-runner. Ashley Parker And Robert Costa,, "Inside Trump's sometimes wavering decision on Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 Some boats sailed straight down Buffalo Bayou to downtown Houston, but Galveston was especially crucial to the blockade-runners. Chris Gray, Houston Chronicle, "Expansive exhibit highlights Houston’s quiet but vital role during Civil War," 11 July 2018 The well-fundedSinema, who is now serving her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, is considered the clear front-runner. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "Joe Biden to headline fundraiser for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema's U.S. Senate run," 10 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for runner

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for runner

The first known use of runner was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of runner

: a person who runs as part of a sport, for exercise, or in a race

: an animal (such as a horse) that runs in a race

: a person who delivers messages, reports, materials, or products either within a business or organization or to outside locations


run·​ner | \ˈrə-nər \

Kids Definition of runner

1 : a person or animal that runs

2 : a thin piece or part on or in which something slides the runners on a sled

3 : messenger

4 : a slender creeping branch of a plant that roots at the end or at the joints to form new plants

5 : a long narrow carpet (as for a hall)

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Comments on runner

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


by force of circumstances

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