run·​ning | \ ˈrə-niŋ \

Definition of running

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the action of running
b : race
2 : physical condition for running
in the running
1 : competing in a contest
2 : having a chance to win a contest
out of the running
1 : not competing in a contest
2 : having no chance of winning a contest



Definition of running (Entry 2 of 3)

2 : fluid, runny
3a : incessant, continuous a running battle
b : made during the course of a process or activity a running commentary on the game
4 : measured in a straight line cost of lumber per running foot
5a : initiated or performed while running or with a running start a running catch a running jump
b : of, relating to, or being a football play in which the ball is advanced by running rather than by passing their running game was off
c : designed for use by runners a running track running shoes
6 : fitted or trained for running rather than walking, trotting, or jumping a running horse



Definition of running (Entry 3 of 3)

: in succession : consecutively three days running

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of running in a Sentence


He took up running for exercise. They go running every evening.


Never add fuel to a running engine. The farmer had a running battle with pests and disease. The major television stations provided running commentaries on the election results. She kept a running total of their expenses on the trip.


He has won the competition three times running. he won the championship five times running
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Embracing during the London Olympics, recreating Princess Diana’s stunning portrait at the Taj Mahal, cracking up during a running race. Madeleine Luckel, Vogue, "Happy Birthday Kate Middleton! A Look Back at Her Life, and Romance, With Prince William," 9 Jan. 2019 Unfortunately, this might be one of the longest running and most popular misguided methods for weight loss, especially among young women. Korin Miller, SELF, "5 Things You Need To Know About Using Laxatives For Weight Loss," 2 Jan. 2019 Standard virtual machines running a complete operating system include their own process scheduler that carves up processor time between all the running threads and processes. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft unveils Windows Sandbox: Run any app in a disposable virtual machine," 19 Dec. 2018 The space provides only the bare essentials: there’s no running water or electricity. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "7 Hotels That Will Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions," 14 Dec. 2018 The material, which looks similar to that used on running tracks, is formed into hollow, lightweight pre-fabricated parts that can be installed in pieces instead of poured like concrete and asphalt. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "The Netherlands is testing a bike lane made from recycled plastic," 24 Sep. 2018 His nonexistent candidacy was so popular that 24 newspapers promptly endorsed him, and Sen. Paul Douglas, an Illinois Democrat, suggested both parties ought to nominate Eisenhower with different running mates. Sam Walker, WSJ, "The Eisenhower Code: Happy to Serve, Reluctant to Lead," 7 Dec. 2018 After losing a 1980 campaign for the Republican nomination, he was chosen as a running mate by Ronald Reagan, and served as his vice president. Alessandra Codinha, Vogue, "President George H. W. Bush Has Died At Age 94," 1 Dec. 2018 He was previously endorsed by Obama as Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 presidential election. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Barack Obama Surprised People with Donuts and Made the World Seem Less Horrible," 5 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Hint: In most cases, water-soluble products (like bleach) can be flushed down the drain or toilet with running water, and solid cleaning products like bar soaps and scouring pads can go in the trash. Alissa Katz, Good Housekeeping, "How to Dispose of Everything, Including Old Cell Phones, Mattresses, and Batteries," 8 Jan. 2019 If your body is signaling to you that certain running conditions are uncomfortable or even painful, listen to it. Amy Marturana, SELF, "Yes, Your Joints Do Hurt More When It's Cold Out—Here’s Why," 27 Dec. 2018 Even getting food for team meetings can be a challenge, since the nearest restaurants and grocery stores are 90 minutes away from the Navajo Mountain community, where a number of homes don’t have running water, Anderson said. Lindsay Whitehurst, The Seattle Times, "Navajo robotics team heads to international competition," 7 Aug. 2018 The Hagerty Price Guide says that a car like this in running condition could be worth anywhere from $20,000, to $50,000 or more for one that’s been through a full restoration, something this example is a prime candidate for. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "1968 Dodge Charger parked since the 1990s is worth a bundle," 16 July 2018 After all, a running theme throughout the Victorian era was a prioritization of form over function. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Victorian Homes," 6 Nov. 2018 Carroll wanted to make the running game again a significant factor. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "The Final Word: Bob Condotta reviews what went right against the Raiders and what it means," 15 Oct. 2018 In Caracas, large parts of the capital don’t have running water, and some wealthy residential complexes are drilling their own wells. Ryan Dube, WSJ, "Venezuelan Crisis Escalates as President’s Economic Plans Fuel Tensions," 19 Aug. 2018 All of the tantalizing mysteries — and there are several sprinkled throughout the film’s gargantuan 140-minute running time — are quickly solved by flashbacks detailing each character’s backstory and motivation. J.r. Kinnard, The Seattle Times, "‘Bad Times at the El Royale’: First-rate cast checks in, but plot twists fizzle out," 8 Oct. 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1719, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about running

Statistics for running

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for running

The first known use of running was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for running



English Language Learners Definition of running

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the activity or sport of running

: the activity of managing or operating something

: the activity of bringing drugs, guns, etc., to a place illegally and secretly



English Language Learners Definition of running (Entry 2 of 3)

: operating or flowing

: going on steadily or repeatedly for a long period of time

: made during the course of a process or activity



English Language Learners Definition of running (Entry 3 of 3)

: following or happening one after the other

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on running

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


a complex dispute or argument

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!