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 Bismarck: There will be a runoff election for a new state Supreme Court chief justice. USA TODAY, "A subway Thanksgiving, too-high horse, gift wrap wars: News from around our 50 states," 27 Nov. 2019 Early voting for the Dec. 14 runoff election starts on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire voters still have some work to do to fill out the seats on their City Council.," 25 Nov. 2019 Birmingham City Council Pro Tem Wardine Alexander won the runoff election for District 7. Anna Beahm |, al, "Alexander wins Birmingham City Council District 7 runoff election," 20 Nov. 2019 Trump made three trips to Louisiana to rally against Edwards, and fashioned the runoff election between Edwards and Rispone into a test of his own popularity and political prowess. Melinda Deslatte, Twin Cities, "Democrat Edwards wins reelection in conservative Louisiana," 17 Nov. 2019 Edwards and his supporters are laboring to reverse that trend ahead of the Nov. 16 runoff election against Republican businessman Eddie Rispone. NBC News, "Black voter outreach intensifies in Louisiana governor race," 13 Nov. 2019 Aurora needs to implement a runoff election with the top two nominees so that whoever becomes mayor has more than 50% of the vote! Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Veteran grateful to be honored; Make Veterans Day serve its namesake first and foremost; Responsibility to our children; Aurora should have runoff (11/11/19)," 11 Nov. 2019 Meany had defeated Shanes by an even greater margin -- 83.7 percent to 10 percent -- in a Ward 5 runoff election Sept. 10 that determined the two candidates who would square off in November. Ed Wittenberg, cleveland, "Support of Issue 65 helps propel Solon council candidates to victory," 7 Nov. 2019 Mayor Patrick McGrady battled with the council over whether to fill the fourth seat with a person appointed by the mayor or through a runoff election after then-incumbent Councilman Stephen Smith and challenger Sean DeBonis tied at 655 votes each. David Anderson,, "Steve Goodin, appointed to Aberdeen council in 2016, is honored at final meeting before city election," 31 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To add fuel to the fire, a second video shows the walker failing to buckle their harnesses, leaving them vulnerable to running off, getting hurt or worse. Robyn Merrett,, "Wag! Dog Walker Caught on Camera Stealing from Client's Home: 'It Is Disheartening'," 23 Nov. 2019 That workout either was poorly designed, or designed to run off holdover players. oregonlive, "Willie Taggart had the same problems at Oregon that got him fired at FSU: Issues & Answers," 4 Nov. 2019 Investigators say it was believed Josh’s mother did not report him missing right away, because he was known to run off for several days at a time. Andrea Cavallier, NBC News, "Case of missing Illinois teen Joshua Mahaffey allegedly last seen at Devil's Playground remains unsolved nearly three decades later," 18 Oct. 2019 But scientists believe a majority of it is driven by melting that occurs right on the surface of the ice sheet, causing liquid water to run off into the sea. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "What Greenland Might Have Taught Trump about Warming," 19 Aug. 2019 He was flagged for defensive holding and was the one to run off after the Patriots were called for having 12 men on the field. Nora Princiotti,, "Eight takeaways from the Patriots’ time in Michigan," 9 Aug. 2019 The four core businesses notionally returned 1.7% last year and the bad bank, much of which Deutsche hopes to run off briskly, lost 6%. The Economist, "Recognising reality at Deutsche Bank," 11 July 2019 But like the Rams, the Memphis offense subsisted on a heavy dose of outside zone runs, which asked backs to run off tackle while patiently reading the defense before cutting upfield. Justin Edwards, Sports Illustrated, "Rams Rookie Running Back Darrell Henderson is More Than a Todd Gurley Handcuff," 29 May 2019 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

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

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Runoff.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 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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