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
d : carry out
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

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 And of course, that means that even with runoff, without active selling, there’s going to be a reduction in our balance sheet that’s faster than the last time. WSJ, 12 Jan. 2022 From rampant deforestation to rivers running orange with toxic runoff from mines, history is likely to weigh on the consciences of ISRU advocates. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Dec. 2021 France is holding its presidential election on April 10, with a runoff if needed on April 24. Sylvie Corbet, ajc, 5 Dec. 2021 France is holding its presidential election on April 10, with a runoff if needed on April 24. Sylvie Corbet, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Dec. 2021 Tennessee had driven into field goal territory to end the second quarter, but Tannehill was hit with an intentional grounding call and clock runoff to end the half. Ben Arthur, USA TODAY, 21 Nov. 2021 Factors might include things like leaves that have collected in the canal, along with stormwater runoff from streets in the industrial area, washing material into the waterway. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2021 The primary will be November 16, with a runoff, if necessary, on December 14. Mike Cason |, al, 30 Aug. 2021 The reservoir typically gets a boost in the spring and summer as the river swells with runoff from melting snow. Kathy Tulumello, The Arizona Republic, 14 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Alternatively, the Fed could allow its holdings to shrink by allowing bonds to mature, or run off. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, 4 Jan. 2022 All Polestar 2 vehicles are currently manufactured in Luqiao and imported from China, but the Polestar 3 due next year will also run off the assembly line in Volvo’s new factory near Charleston, S.C. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 9 Nov. 2021 Remember James White’s nifty 28-yard catch-and-run off a screen pass in Week 2 against the Jets, after Jones set it up by faking in the opposite direction?, 24 Oct. 2021 Shocking video from New York City shows a homeless man suddenly snatch a three-year-old girl from her grandmother and run off Monday in a broad daylight kidnapping attempt in the Bronx. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 12 Oct. 2021 According to the federal complaint, surveillance camera footage from the post office showed a man using a key to open the outside collection box, remove the container with the tracking device, and run off with it southeast on Busse Highway. Jennifer Johnson,, 22 Sep. 2021 According to Alabama State Trooper Justin O’Neal, two vehicles sideswiped each other, causing one of them – a Chevrolet Cobalt - to lose control, run off the roadway and overturn. Carol Robinson |, al, 1 Mar. 2021 Excelsior Pass and Hawaii’s vaccine verification run off the SMART health card network and generate a unique QR code that businesses easily scan. Megan Leonhardt, Fortune, 1 Nov. 2021 Clinkscales, however, could have simply run off the road. Carol Robinson |, al, 10 Dec. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near runoff



run off

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Statistics for runoff

Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Runoff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for runoff



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

More from Merriam-Webster on runoff

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


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