run·​off | \ ˈrən-ˌȯf How to pronounce runoff (audio) \

Definition of runoff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a final race, contest, or election to decide an earlier one that has not resulted in a decision in favor of any one competitor
2 : the portion of precipitation on land that ultimately reaches streams often with dissolved or suspended material

run off

ran off; run off; running off; runs off

Definition of run off (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to recite, compose, or produce rapidly
b : to cause to be run or played to a finish
c : to decide (a race) by a runoff
2 : to drain off : draw off
3a : to drive off (someone, such as a trespasser)
b : to steal (animals, such as cattle) by driving away
run off with
: to carry off : steal ran off with the money

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Examples of runoff in a Sentence

Verb the dog often ran off cats and other animals that had intruded upon his owner's property their rebellious daughter's run off because she was disciplined again
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now Turner and his biggest rival, prominent millionaire and lawyer Tony Buzbee, are headed to a December runoff. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Map: Here's how your neighbor voted in the 2019 Houston mayoral election," 6 Nov. 2019 The only other Orlando race, for the District 6 City Council seat vacated by Ings to run for mayor, will go to a runoff between the top two vote-getters, Orange Blossom Family Health CEO Bakari Burns and former state Sen. Gary Siplin. Ryan Gillespie,, "Buddy Dyer overwhelmingly reelected to fifth term," 6 Nov. 2019 In the preliminary election for the open Keene mayor’s seat earlier this month, the top two finishers, both city councilors, advanced to the November runoff with more than 1,100 votes each., "a man who legally changed his name to Nobody,," 18 Oct. 2019 The Democrat was defending his seat in a primary election Saturday that forced him into a runoff next month. Chevel Johnson And Kevin Mcgill,, "2 dead, 1 missing and more than 20 injured after part of Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans collapses," 13 Oct. 2019 The Democrat was defending his seat in a primary election Saturday that forced him into a runoff next month. Author: Chevel Johnson And Kevin Mcgill, Anchorage Daily News, "Hotel collapse in New Orleans leaves 2 dead, 1 missing," 13 Oct. 2019 Republicans are trying to keep Edwards from topping 50%, which would force him into a November runoff. Washington Post, "The Latest: Trump calls Little Leaguers to stage at rally," 12 Oct. 2019 National Republican leaders trying to send a message about 2020 are barnstorming the state seeking to energize GOP voters and keep Edwards from claiming enough cross-party support to top 50% in the primary and win without a November runoff. San Diego Union-Tribune, "GOP firepower aims to oust Democratic Louisiana governor," 8 Oct. 2019 The two candidates who get the most votes in the March 2020 primary, regardless of party, will advance to a November runoff. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Dozens are feared dead after boat fire off the coast of Ventura County," 3 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Both men ran off, and deputies found the dead man in a ditch close to the house, authorities said. Theresa Waldrop, CNN, "A Florida man says his pregnant wife saved his life in home invasion - with an AR-15," 4 Nov. 2019 Witnesses said the Durango driver and two passengers ran off without checking on Levy, the warrant says. Jesse Leavenworth,, "Manchester man charged with killing motorcyclist after high-speed crash in East Hartford," 17 Oct. 2019 An Amish man and teen drinking beer while riding in the back of a horse and buggy equipped with a stereo system ran off after Ohio police pulled them over Sunday, officials said. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, "Amish man and teen drinking in horse and buggy run after police pull them over," 18 Sep. 2019 The 24-year-old man ran downstairs, asked if everyone was okay, then ran off, police reports say. Adam Ferrise,, "Cleveland man accidentally shoots downstairs neighbor, police say," 3 Aug. 2019 The shooter ran off and remains at large, police said. Lauren Minor And Jennifer Edwards Baker,, "One hurt after an argument at a Banks party ends in a hail of gunfire," 22 July 2019 Helena claims Sylvie ran off with a fortune in jewelry. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Author mines familial loss and turns it into literary gold," 6 June 2019 On most snaps, the quarterback will either hand to a fullback up the middle, keep on a run off tackle or pitch to a running back farther on the perimeter. Greg Luca,, "UTSA preparing for Army’s triple-option onslaught," 13 Sep. 2019 The Cardinals scored all of their runs off Tyler Beede, who trailed 2-0 after nine pitches. John Shea,, "Giants’ Mauricio Dubon homers, doubles in loss to Cardinals," 2 Sep. 2019

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


1867, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1680, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Time Traveler for runoff

Time Traveler

The first known use of runoff was in 1680

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Statistics for runoff

Last Updated

20 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Runoff.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for runoff


How to pronounce run off (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of runoff

: an additional race, contest, or election that is held because an earlier one has not resulted in a winner
: water from rain or snow that flows over the surface of the ground into streams

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More from Merriam-Webster on runoff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with runoff

Nglish: Translation of runoff for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about runoff

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