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

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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

Montgomery faced traffic in each of the first three innings, allowing two runners with one out in all three innings. New York Times, "Royals Escape a Mets Threat in the 9th," 17 Aug. 2019 Camino Hills residents and friends welcomed area resident, Anne Garrett, an Octogenarian who is among the top women runners in her age group. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Star octogenarian runner visits Camino Hills," 16 Aug. 2019 Here are five of the top girls and boys runners returning from the Louisville area. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "10 cross country runners to watch from the Louisville area this season," 16 Aug. 2019 The Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k welcomed runners from 25 states, with ages 11 to 80 competing on Sat., Aug. 10. Shirley Macfarland,, "Strongsville and Brecksville students receive Tri-C Honors Program Fellowship scholarships: Strong Points," 16 Aug. 2019 Nelson was the only runner to break 10 minutes and Walsh was the only girl with a sub-12:00 time in the 3-kilometer race. Anchorage Daily News, "Eagle River girls, Chugiak boys run to dual-meet wins," 16 Aug. 2019 The Rickenbacker Causeway, which is popular among cyclists and runners, has long been a flashpoint between drivers and cyclists. Johnny Diaz,, "Motorcyclist released after questioning in fatal shooting of bicycle rider on Miami’s Rickenbacker Causeway," 15 Aug. 2019 This year there were 153 runners competing across eight races, with a number of international participants. Ben Church, CNN, "When the British countryside hosts Dubai royalty and Arabian racing," 15 Aug. 2019 His versatility as a big-bodied receiver and runner have been touted. Brad Biggs,, "Bears Q&A: How did the Browns get more for Duke Johnson than the Bears did for Jordan Howard? Is Taylor Gabriel still the fastest Bear? Will Javon Wims make the 53-man roster?," 14 Aug. 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.

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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

20 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for runner

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

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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)

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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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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