run·​way | \ˈrən-ˌwā \

Definition of runway 

1a : a beaten path made by animals

b : a passageway for animals

2 : a paved strip of ground on a landing field for the landing and takeoff of aircraft

3a : a narrow platform from a stage into an auditorium

b : a platform along which models walk in a fashion show

5 : the area or path along which a jumper, pole vaulter, or javelin thrower runs

Examples of runway in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

View this post on Instagram Pretty sure @dylansprouse in awe of @realbarbarapalvin walking the runway was the greatest moment of the #VSFashionShow. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Dylan Sprouse and Barbara Palvin Were Couple Goals During the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show," 9 Nov. 2018 Those landings came to an end in 2011, though, but now, seven years later, that runway is open for commercial business. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Cape Canaveral Can Now Launch Commercial Spaceplanes," 9 Nov. 2018 And while any change is sure to bring out some haters, the praise will almost certainly drown them out, if the runways of New York Fashion Week are any indication. Hilary George-parkin, Glamour, "What's Holding Victoria's Secret Back From Body Diversity on the Runway?," 9 Nov. 2018 To put that in perspective, LGA is 7,000 feet and JFK's longest runway is 14,500. Georgia Dean, Condé Nast Traveler, "Co-Piloting a 54-Day Flight With My Dad: Dispatch #4," 3 Oct. 2018 The runway is steep—like an amusement park slide—and not for the faint of heart. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "How St. Bart's Survived the Devastating Hurricanes of 2017," 10 July 2018 King Mswati III International Airport is in an otherwise rural part of eastern Swaziland about an hour from the capital, the runway is long enough for one of the world's largest personal aircraft. David Mckenzie And Brent Swails, CNN, "The kingdom that China just can't flip," 8 June 2018 The airport’s runway is about 6,600 feet (2,012 meters) long, according to the airport’s website. Washington Post, "Private jet from Texas crashes in Honduras, all survive," 22 May 2018 While built mainly for the Reaper drones, the runway and adjoining taxiways and ramps must be able to handle much heavier C-17 cargo planes. Eric Schmitt, New York Times, "A Shadowy War’s Newest Front: A Drone Base Rising From Saharan Dust," 22 Apr. 2018

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

1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about runway

Dictionary Entries near runway

run up


run up against


run wild



Statistics for runway

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for runway

The first known use of runway was in 1828

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for runway



English Language Learners Definition of runway

: a long strip of ground where airplanes take off and land

: a raised structure along which models walk in a fashion show


run·​way | \ˈrən-ˌwā \

Kids Definition of runway

1 : a path beaten by animals in going to and from feeding grounds

2 : a paved strip of ground on a landing field for the landing and takeoff of aircraft

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on runway

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with runway

Spanish Central: Translation of runway

Nglish: Translation of runway for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of runway for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about runway

Comments on runway

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


to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!