run·​ner | \ ˈrə-nər How to pronounce runner (audio) \

Definition of runner

1a : one that runs : racer
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

The Rockies also need a bat in the second hole like DJ who would not strikeout, could move runners up, made contact and hit the long ball once in a while. Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "Rockies Mailbag: DJ LeMahieu showing Monfort and Co. they dropped the ball by letting him walk," 2 July 2019 Brad Magyar is an active, competitive runner in his 50s who frequently participates in races organized by the HMF. Tyra Mcclung,, "Afloat In Avon: Wellness Therapy Promotes Relaxation, Relieves Sports Injuries," 2 July 2019 Last year’s race drew 398 runners, including 100 walk-ups. Craig Clary,, "Sprinklers, hoses will delight runners as Arbutus Firecracker 10K returns for 37th straight year," 1 July 2019 Instead of focusing on light shows, Seward residents have been hosting one of America's oldest races every Independence Day: Founded in 1915, the Mount Marathon Race draws elite runners who take on a course that spans 3,000 feet in elevation., "6 peculiar and patriotic Fourth of July celebrations across the country," 1 July 2019 First baseman Eric Thames fielded a slow grounder by José Iglesias in the fifth inning and dived to tag the bag ahead of the runner, who missed the base while trying to avoid a collision with a leaping Houser. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 8, Reds 6: Christian Yelich becomes first player in club history with 30 HRs before break," 1 July 2019 The third inning included a couple bizarre baserunning plays — one runner was thrown out on a walk, and another scored on an errant pickoff attempt following an infield hit. Mark Didtler,, "Host Rays fall 5-0 to Rangers, who tie Tampa Bay for No. 1 wild card," 29 June 2019 Eleven runners were stranded by the first three hitters in the Indians' lineup. Tyler Kraft, Indianapolis Star, "Indians drop fourth straight game as offense sputters in Gwinnett," 29 June 2019 The race, which drew 231 runners, is a fundraiser for Running Free Alaska, a nonprofit running program for female prisoners at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center. 1. Anchorage Daily News, "Sweeney, Imig cruise to victories in Alaska Men’s Run," 29 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of runner

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about runner

Statistics for runner

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for runner

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for runner



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 How to pronounce runner (audio) \

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)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on runner

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with runner

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for runner

Spanish Central: Translation of runner

Nglish: Translation of runner for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of runner for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about runner

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!