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

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Examples of runoff in a Sentence


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

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., Greenland has already lost a total of over 250 billion tons from a combination of melt runoff and low total snowfall this season. Andrew Freedman,, "Massive heat wave puts Greenland on track for record melt," 8 Aug. 2019 June brought high water levels, but with the arrival of warm temperatures and the passage of peak runoff, river flows currently are described as moderate — and there’s plenty more to come. John Meyer, The Know, "Colorado rafting season expected to go long this year, extending into early fall," 18 July 2019 In the hypothetical event of a runoff, Duque is expected to win. Christina Austin, Fortune, "Why You Should Care About Colombia's Presidential Election This Weekend," 24 May 2018 Helix customers own Lake Cuyamaca, which produced more than 8,000-acre feet of runoff last year, McMillan said. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Helix Water District rates to climb," 13 Aug. 2019 Tribunal president Julio Solórzano said at a news conference that the results of the Aug. 11 runoff have been certified giving Giammattei the victory. Washington Post, "Guatemala certifies result of Aug. 11 presidential vote," 11 Aug. 2019 Water managers may need to update these rules to account for higher chances of snow drought or changes in the timing of snowmelt runoff. Adrienne Marshall, The Conversation, "Climate change will mean more multiyear snow droughts in the West," 8 Aug. 2019 The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Jim Hood in what’s likely to be a competitive contest in the fall. NBC News, "Some frustrated Republicans are walking out instead of speaking up," 7 Aug. 2019 Ultimately, the winner of Tuesday's runoff will take on former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, who won a six-candidate Democratic primary by attracting 50% of the votes cast. Emily Tillett, CBS News, "North Carolina candidate tests GOP efforts to elect more women to Congress," 9 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Another vehicle was run off the road during the crash, according to police, and the driver of that vehicle was hospitalized with minor injuries. Washington Post, "I-95 southbound closed in Md. after police chase, fatal crash," 12 Sep. 2019 Just how large the annual spread is generally depends on how much rain Northwestern Ohio receives between March and July, how heavy the rain and how much phosphorus runs off farms into the Maumee River watershed. Laura Johnston,, "Sandusky Bay harmful algal bloom could signal more severe season across Lake Erie," 28 June 2019 The Giants’ only runs off Maeda came on Brandon Crawford’s two-run double on the eighth pitch of his at-bat in the second inning. Jorge Castillo,, "Dodgers’ offensive struggles continue in loss to Giants," 17 June 2019 Out of nowhere, the former NFL star, who had a role in 2015's Magic Mike XXL, ran off set and into the audience. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'GMA' Star Michael Strahan Went Into SERIOUS 'Magic Mike' Mode on One Audience Member," 28 Aug. 2019 The Toyota ran off the right side of the highway, flipped over the Jersey wall, and burst into flames. Washington Post, "in fatal crash on I-66," 26 Aug. 2019 Her mother runs off with another man, and Sgualdo and her siblings are shunted off to her grandfather’s farm. Peter Keough,, "Doc Talk: A mother’s tale, a choral tour, a Patrick Swayze bio," 21 Aug. 2019 The inventory ran off at WR2, but Robert Woods should be a steady option. Shawn Childs,, "Fantasy Football: 14-Team Mock Draft; Christian McCaffrey First Pick," 18 Aug. 2019 When summer comes along, the ice melts and runs off into rivers and streams, providing drinking water. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Scientists bid farewell to the first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change. If more melt, it can be disastrous," 18 Aug. 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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Statistics for runoff

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for runoff

The first known use of runoff was in 1680

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with runoff

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

Comments on runoff

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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