Meaning of RUN in English

I. run 1 S1 W1 /rʌn/ BrE AmE verb ( past tense ran /ræn/, past participle run , present participle running )

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ run , ↑ rerun , ↑ runner , ↑ running , ↑ overrun ; verb : ↑ run , ↑ outrun , ↑ overrun , ↑ rerun ; adjective : ↑ running , ↑ runny ; adverb : ↑ running ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: rinnan ]


a) [intransitive] to move very quickly, by moving your legs more quickly than when you walk

run down/up/to/towards etc

I ran down the stairs as fast as I could.

He was running towards the door.

She turned and ran away.

The boys ran off into the crowd.

run to do something

Several people ran to help her when she fell.

The children came running out of the house.

Women ran screaming, with children in their arms.

Jane struggled free and ran for her life (=ran in order to avoid being killed) .

Hurry! Run for it (=run as quickly as possible in order to escape) !

He picked up the child and ran like hell (=ran very quickly, especially in order to escape) .

not polite

b) [transitive] to run a particular distance:

Firefighters are to run 500km to raise money for a children’s charity.

He ran the length of the corridor.

2 . RACE

a) [intransitive and transitive] to run in a race:

I’d never run a marathon before.

run in

Murray has said she will consider running in the 3000 metres.

b) [transitive usually passive] if a race is run at a particular time or in a particular place, it happens at that time or in that place:

The Derby will be run at 3 o'clock.

3 . ORGANIZE/BE IN CHARGE OF [transitive] to organize or be in charge of an activity, business, organization, or country:

For a while, she ran a restaurant in Boston.

Many people don’t care who runs the country.

Courses are currently being run in London and Edinburgh.

Many people belong to a pension scheme run by their employers.

well/badly run

The hotel is well-run and extremely popular.

a state-run (=controlled by the government) television station

4 . DO SOMETHING/GO SOMEWHERE QUICKLY [intransitive] to do something or go somewhere quickly:

Run and ask your mother where she’s put the keys.

run to

I need to run to the store for some more milk.


a) [intransitive] if a bus, train etc service runs, it takes people from one place to another at fixed times:

The buses don’t run on Sundays.

run to

The number 61 bus runs to the city centre.

b) [transitive] if a company or other organization runs a bus, train etc service, they make it operate:

They’re running special trains to and from the exhibition.


a) [intransitive] if a computer program runs, it operates

run on

The software will run on any PC.

b) [transitive] if you run a program, you make it operate:

The RS8 system runs both Unix and MPX-32.


a) [intransitive] if a machine or engine runs, it operates:

She got out of the car and left the engine running.

run on electricity/gas/petrol etc (=get its power from electricity etc)

Most cars run on unleaded fuel.

run off something (=use something for power)

It runs off batteries.

b) [transitive] if you run a machine or engine, you make it operate:

You shouldn’t keep the engine running when the car is standing still.

I often run the washing machine more than once a day.

8 . TAPE

a) [intransitive usually progressive] if a tape is running, it is recording:

She didn’t realize the tape was running as she spoke.

b) [transitive] if you run a tape, you make it move backwards or forwards:

Run the tape back to the beginning.


a) [transitive] to print something in a newspaper or magazine, or broadcast something on television:

The company is running a series of advertisements in national newspapers.

A local TV station ran her story.

b) [intransitive] if a program runs on television, it is shown. If a story runs in a newspaper or magazine, it is printed:

The series ran for 20 episodes and was extremely popular.

Conan Doyle’s stories ran in ‘The Strand’ magazine.

10 . FAST/OUT OF CONTROL [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to move too fast or in an uncontrolled way:

Her car ran off the road and into a tree.

The truck ran out of control and hit a house.

11 . USE A VEHICLE [transitive] especially British English to own and use a vehicle:

I can’t afford to run a car.

A bicycle is relatively cheap to buy and run.

12 . TAKE SOMEBODY IN YOUR CAR [transitive always + adverb/preposition] informal to take someone somewhere in your car SYN drive :

Shall I run you home?

run somebody to something

Let me run you to the station.

13 . IN AN ELECTION [intransitive] especially American English to try to be elected in an election SYN stand British English

run for

Salinas is running for a second term as President.

an attempt to encourage more women to run for office

run against

Feinstein will win if she runs against Lungren.

14 . SOMETHING LONG [intransitive, transitive always + adverb/preposition] if something long such as a road or wire runs in a particular direction, that is its position, or that is where you put it:

The road runs along a valley.

Developers want to run a road right through his farm.

Run the cables under the carpet.

The Sierra mountain range runs the length of the north west coast of Majorca.

15 . MOVE SOMETHING ON A SURFACE [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to move something lightly along a surface:

Charles ran his fingers through her hair.

Run the scanner over the bar codes.

16 . FLOW [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to flow in a particular direction or place:

Tears started to run down her cheeks.

Water was running off the roof.

17 . TAP [intransitive and transitive] if a ↑ tap is running, water is coming out of it, or if you run a tap, you make water come out of it:

Did you leave the tap running?

He ran the tap until the water was really hot.

18 . run a bath to fill a bath with water:

I could hear her running a bath upstairs.

run somebody a bath

Could you run me a nice hot bath while I finish my meal?

19 . SB’S NOSE [intransitive] if someone’s nose is running, liquid is flowing out of it

20 . OFFICIAL PAPERS [intransitive] if something runs for a particular length of time, it can officially be used for that time:

The contract runs for a year.

My car insurance only has another month to run.

21 . PLAY/FILM [intransitive] to continue being performed regularly in one place:

The play ran for two years.

22 . HAPPEN [intransitive] to happen in a particular way or at a particular time:

Andy kept things running smoothly (=happening in the way they should) while I was away.

He was given a further three month prison sentence to run concurrently.

The course runs over a three year period.

23 . AMOUNT/PRICE [intransitive] to be at a particular level, amount, or price

run at

Inflation was running at 5%.

run to

The cost of repairing the damage could run to $5000.

24 . STORY/ACCOUNT ETC [intransitive and transitive] if a story, discussion etc runs in a particular way, it has those particular words or events:

The story runs that someone offered Lynch a further $500.

‘President’s marriage really over’ ran the headline in a national newspaper.

25 . run its course if something runs its course, it continues in the way you expect until it has finished:

Recession in the country has run its course and left an aftermath of uncertainty.

26 . something will run and run British English if a subject, discussion, event etc will run and run, people will continue to be interested in it for a long time:

This is a story that will run and run.

27 . THOUGHTS/FEELINGS [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] if a feeling runs through you, or a thought runs through your mind, you feel it or think it quickly

run through/down

A feeling of excitement ran through her body as they touched.

The same thought kept running through his mind.

A cold shiver ran down my back.

I felt a sharp pain run down my leg.

28 . run high if feelings run high, people are very angry, upset, excited etc:

Tension ran high and fights broke out among the crowd.

Feelings have been running high in the town, following the murder of a young girl.

29 . run sb’s life informal to keep telling someone what they should do all the time, in a way that annoys them:

Don’t try to run my life!

30 . run for cover

a) to run towards a place where you will be safe, especially to avoid bullets:

He was shot in the leg as he ran for cover.

b) to try to protect yourself from a bad situation or from being criticized:

His success at backing winning horses has had the bookmakers running for cover.

31 . COLOUR IN CLOTHES [intransitive] if colour runs, it spreads from one piece of clothing or one area of cloth to another when the clothes are wet:

The T-shirt ran and made all my other clothes pink.

32 . PAINT/INK [intransitive] if paint runs, it moves onto an area where you did not intend it to go

33 . run a check/test/experiment etc to arrange for someone or something to be checked or tested

run a check/test/experiment etc on

Ask your doctor to run a test on your blood sugar levels.

34 . HOLE IN CLOTHES [intransitive] if a hole in ↑ tights or ↑ stocking s runs, it gets bigger in a straight line

35 . run drugs/guns to bring drugs or guns into a country illegally in order to sell them ⇨ ↑ drug runner , ↑ gun-running

36 . run in the family if something such as a quality, disease, or skill runs in the family, many people in that family have it:

Diabetes appears to run in families.

37 . run a temperature/fever to have a body temperature that is higher than normal, because you are ill

38 . run a mile informal to try very hard to avoid a particular situation or person because you do not want to deal with them:

If someone asked me to marry them, I’d probably run a mile.

39 . run late/early/on time to arrive, go somewhere, or do something late, early, or at the right time:

I’m running late, so I’ll talk to you later.

If the train runs on time, we’ll be there by ten.

40 . be running scared to feel worried because someone who you are competing against is becoming very successful or powerful:

The party are running scared.

41 . come running

a) informal to react in a very eager way when someone asks or tells you to do something:

He thinks he’s only got to look at me and I’ll come running.

b) especially spoken to ask someone for help, advice, or sympathy when you have a problem

come running to

Well I warned you, so don’t come running to me when it all goes wrong!

42 . run your eyes over/along etc something to look quickly at something:

He ran his eyes along the books on the shelf.

43 . run before you can walk to try to do something difficult before you have learned the basic skills you need:

A lot of language students want to run before they can walk.

44 . run a (red) light informal to drive quickly through a red TRAFFIC LIGHT instead of stopping

⇨ ↑ running 1 , ⇨ cut and run at ↑ cut 1 (38), ⇨ be/run/go counter to something at ↑ counter 3 , ⇨ run deep at ↑ deep 2 (4), ⇨ run dry at ↑ dry 1 (4), ⇨ run low at ↑ low 1 (4), ⇨ run somebody ragged at ↑ ragged (5), ⇨ run rings around somebody at ↑ ring 1 (8), ⇨ run riot at ↑ riot 1 (2), ⇨ be running short at ↑ short 2 (2), ⇨ run somebody/something to earth at ↑ earth 1 (14), ⇨ run to fat at ↑ fat 2 (6), ⇨ run somebody/something to ground at ↑ ground 1 (19), ⇨ run to seed at ↑ seed 1 (4), ⇨ run wild at ↑ wild 2 (1), ⇨ be up and running at ↑ up 1 (22)

• • •


▪ run to move very quickly, by moving your legs more quickly than when you walk:

My five-year-old son runs everywhere.


I go running twice a week.

▪ jog to run quite slowly for exercise over a long distance:

A few people were jogging in the park.

▪ race/dash to run somewhere as quickly as you can, especially because you have to do something urgently:

He dashed across the road to the police station.


We raced to the bus stop and got there just in time.

▪ sprint to run as fast as you can for a short distance:

I saw the runners sprinting past.


He sprinted up the stairs.

▪ tear to run very quickly and without really looking where you are going, because you are in a hurry:

He tore down the street and around the corner.

▪ charge to run quickly and with a lot of energy, so that you might knock down anyone or anything that gets in your way:

They all charged out of the school gates at 4 o'clock.


Dennis charged through the door into my office.

▪ take to your heels to start running away very quickly, especially to escape or because you are afraid:

The men took to their heels as soon as they saw the police.

▪ leg it British English informal to run away very quickly, in order to escape from someone or something:

I legged it before the cops came.

▪ lope especially literary to run easily with long steps – used especially about tall people with long legs:

John loped across the street to meet me.

■ animals running

▪ trot to run fairly slowly, taking short steps – used especially about horses and dogs:

A little dog was trotting behind her.

▪ gallop if a horse gallops, it runs very quickly:

The horse galloped off across the field.

▪ bolt to suddenly run somewhere very fast, especially in order to escape:

Suddenly a fox bolted out from beneath a hedge.

run across somebody/something phrasal verb

to meet someone or find something by chance:

I ran across him at a conference in Milan.

I ran across some old love letters while I was clearing out a cupboard.

run after somebody/something phrasal verb

1 . to chase someone or something:

He ran after her, calling her name.

2 . informal to try to start a sexual relationship with someone:

He’s always running after younger women.

3 . spoken to do a lot of things for someone else as though you were their servant:

I can’t keep running after you all day!

run along phrasal verb spoken

used to tell a child to leave, or to tell someone that you must leave:

Run along now! I’ve got work to finish.

Oh, it’s late. I’d better be running along.

run around ( also run round British English ) phrasal verb

1 . to run in an area while you are playing:

The children were running around in the garden.

2 . informal to be very busy doing many small jobs:

Maria was running around trying to get the house tidy.

We were all running around like headless chickens (=trying to do a lot of things, in an anxious or disorganized way) .

⇨ ↑ runaround

run around after somebody phrasal verb informal

to do a lot of things for someone else as though you were their servant:

I’ve spent all day running around after the kids.

run around with somebody phrasal verb informal

to spend a lot of time with someone, especially someone that other people disapprove of:

He started running around with a gang of teenagers.

run away phrasal verb

1 . to leave a place, especially secretly, in order to escape from someone or something

run away from

Toby ran away from home at the age of 14.

⇨ ↑ runaway 2

2 . to try to avoid dealing with a problem or difficult situation

run away from

You can’t just run away from your responsibilities.

3 . to secretly go away with someone in order to marry them or live with them:

They ran away together to get married.

run away with somebody/something phrasal verb

1 . to secretly go away with someone in order to marry them or live with them – usually used to show disapproval:

His wife has run away with another man.

2 . run away with you if your feelings, ideas etc run away with you, they start to control how you behave:

Don’t let your imagination run away with you!

3 . your tongue runs away with you if your tongue runs away with you, you say something that you did not intend to say

4 . run away with the idea/impression (that) spoken to think that something is true when it is not:

Don’t run away with the impression that he doesn’t care.

5 . informal to win a competition or sports game very easily:

The Reds ran away with the championship.

run something by/past somebody phrasal verb

1 . to tell someone something so that they can give you their opinion:

Let me run some figures by you.

I just wanted to run it past you and see what you thought.

2 . run that by me again spoken used to ask someone to repeat what they have just said because you did not completely understand it

run down phrasal verb

1 . run somebody/something ↔ down to drive into a person or animal and kill or injure them:

Their daughter was run down by a car.

2 . run somebody/something ↔ down informal to criticize someone or something in a way that is unfair:

There’s a lot of good things about homeopathic treatment. I’m certainly not running it down.

3 . if a clock, machine, ↑ battery etc runs down, it has no more power and stops working

4 . to make a company, organization etc gradually reduce in size, especially in order to close it in the future, or to gradually reduce in size

run something ↔ down

Many smaller local hospitals are being run down.

The business had been running down for a long time.

5 . if a supply of something runs down, or if you run it down, there gradually becomes less of it:

Crude oil reserves are running down.

run something ↔ down

Electricity generating companies are running down stocks and cutting purchases.

6 . run down something to read a list of people or things:

Let me just run down the list of people who’ve been invited.

7 . run somebody/something down to find someone or something after searching for a long time:

I finally ran him down at his new office in Glendale.

⇨ ↑ rundown , ↑ run-down

run somebody/something ↔ in phrasal verb British English

1 . to drive a new car slowly and carefully for a period of time so you do not damage its engine

2 . old-fashioned if the police run a criminal in, they catch him or her

run into somebody/something phrasal verb

1 . to start to experience a difficult or unpleasant situation:

He ran into criticism after remarks he made in a television interview.

run into trouble/problems/difficulties

The business ran into financial difficulties almost immediately.

2 . run into hundreds/thousands etc to reach an amount of several hundred, several thousand etc:

The cost of repairing the damage could run into millions.

The list ran into hundreds of pages.

3 . to hit someone or something with a vehicle SYN crash into :

He ran into the back of another car.

4 . informal to meet someone by chance:

Guess who I ran into in town today!

⇨ run yourself into the ground at ↑ ground 1 (13)

run off phrasal verb

1 . to leave a place or person in a way that people disapprove of:

Amy’s husband had run off and left her with two children to bring up.

2 . run something ↔ off to quickly print several copies of something:

I’ll run off a few more copies before the meeting.

3 . run somebody off something to force someone to leave a place:

Someone tried to run me off the road.

Smith had run them off his property with a rifle.

4 . run something ↔ off to write a speech, poem, piece of music etc quickly and easily:

He could run off a five-page essay in an hour.

5 . run off at the mouth American English informal to talk too much

6 . run something ↔ off to get rid of weight by running:

I’m trying to run off some of my excess fat!

run off with somebody/something phrasal verb informal

1 . to secretly go away with someone in order to marry them or live with them – used to show disapproval:

Liz shocked us all by running off with a married man.

2 . to steal something and go away:

a con-man who makes a habit of running off with people’s savings

run on phrasal verb

to continue happening for longer than expected or planned:

These things always run on longer than people imagine.

run out phrasal verb

1 .

a) to use all of something and not have any more left:

I’ve got money you can borrow if you run out.

run out of

They ran out of money and had to abandon the project.

He’d run out of ideas.

b) if something is running out, there will soon be none left:

We must act now because time is running out.

My patience was running out.

His luck had run out (=there was none left) .

2 . if an agreement, official document etc runs out, the period for which it is legal or has an effect ends SYN expire :

My contract runs out in September.

3 . run out of steam informal ( also run out of gas American English ) to have no more energy or no longer be interested in what you are doing:

The team seemed to have run out of gas.

4 . run somebody out of town old-fashioned to force someone to leave a place, because they have done something wrong

5 . run somebody ↔ out to end a player’s ↑ innings in the game of ↑ cricket by hitting the ↑ stump s with the ball while they are running

run out on somebody phrasal verb

to leave someone when they are in a difficult situation – used to show disapproval:

He ran out on her when she became pregnant.

run over phrasal verb

1 . run somebody/something ↔ over to hit someone or something with a vehicle, and drive over them:

He was run over and killed by a bus.

She got run over outside the school.

2 . run over something to think about something:

Mark’s mind raced, running over all the possibilities.

3 . run over something to explain or practise something quickly:

I’ll just run over the main points again.

4 . run over (something) to continue happening for longer than planned:

The meeting ran over.

The talks have run over the 15 November deadline.

5 . if a container runs over, there is so much liquid inside that some flows out SYN overflow

run something past somebody phrasal verb

to ↑ run something ↑ by someone

run round phrasal verb British English

to ↑ run around

run through phrasal verb

1 . run through something to repeat something in order to practise it or make sure it is correct:

Let’s run through the first scene again.

2 . run through something to read, look at, or explain something quickly:

Briefly, she ran through details of the morning’s events.

3 . run through something if a quality, feature etc runs through something, it is present in all of that thing:

This theme runs through the whole book.

4 . run somebody through literary to push a sword completely through someone ⇨ ↑ run-through

run to somebody/something phrasal verb

1 . to reach a particular amount:

The cost of repairing the damage could run to $1 million.

The treaty ran to 248 pages.

2 . [usually in negatives] British English to be or have enough money to pay for something:

Our budget won’t run to replacing all the computers.

3 . to ask someone to help or protect you:

You can’t keep running to your parents every time you have a problem.

4 . sb’s taste runs to something if someone’s taste runs to something, that is what they like:

His taste ran to action movies and thrillers.

run up something phrasal verb

1 . run up a debt/bill etc to use so much of something, or borrow so much money, that you owe a lot of money:

She ran up an enormous phone bill.

2 . to achieve a particular score or position in a game or competition:

He quickly ran up a big lead in the polls.

3 . run something ↔ up to make something, especially clothes, very quickly:

She can run up a dress in an evening.

4 . run something ↔ up to raise a flag on a pole

run up against something/somebody phrasal verb

to have to deal with unexpected problems or a difficult opponent:

The museum has run up against opposition to its proposals.

run with something phrasal verb

to be covered with a liquid that is flowing down:

His face was running with blood.

II. run 2 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ run , ↑ rerun , ↑ runner , ↑ running , ↑ overrun ; verb : ↑ run , ↑ outrun , ↑ overrun , ↑ rerun ; adjective : ↑ running , ↑ runny ; adverb : ↑ running ]

1 . ON FOOT [countable] a period of time spent running, or a distance that you run ⇨ jog , sprint :

a five-mile run

She usually goes for a run before breakfast.

He was still following me, and in a panic I broke into a run.

at a run

Sarah left the house at a run.

2 . in the long run later in the future, not immediately ⇨ long-term :

Moving to Spain will be better for you in the long run.

3 . in the short run in the near future ⇨ short-term :

Sufficient supply, in the short run, will be a problem.

4 . the usual/normal/general run of something the usual type of something:

The place was very different from the normal run of street cafes.

5 . SERIES [countable usually singular] a series of successes or failures ⇨ string , streak :

an unbeaten run of 19 games

run of good/bad luck

Losing my job was the start of a run of bad luck that year.

a run of defeats/victories etc

His extraordinary run of successes has been stopped.

6 . AMOUNT PRODUCED [countable] an amount of a product produced at one time:

a limited run of 200 copies

7 . be on the run

a) to be trying to escape or hide, especially from the police

be on the run from

wanted criminals on the run from police

b) if an army or opponent is on the run, they will soon be defeated

c) to be very busy and continuously rushing about:

Typical of stress is this feeling of being continuously on the run.

8 . do something on the run to do something while you are on your way somewhere or doing something else:

I always seem to eat on the run these days.

9 . make a run for it to suddenly start running, in order to escape

10 . the run of something if you have the run of a place, you are allowed to go anywhere and do anything in it:

We had the run of the house for the afternoon.

11 . a run on something

a) a situation in which lots of people suddenly buy a particular product ⇨ rush :

There’s always a run on roses before Valentine’s Day.

b) a run on the dollar/pound etc a situation in which lots of people sell dollars etc and the value goes down

c) a run on the bank an occasion when a lot of people take their money out of a bank at the same time

12 . give somebody a (good) run for their money to make your opponent in a competition use all their skill and effort to defeat you:

They’ve given some of the top teams a run for their money this season.

13 . have a (good) run for your money informal to succeed in doing something successfully for a long time:

Investors have also had a good run for their money.

14 . ILLNESS the runs informal ↑ diarrhoea

15 . PLAY/FILM [countable] a continuous series of performances of a play, film etc in the same place:

His first play had a three-month run in the West End.

16 . JOURNEY [singular]

a) a journey by train, ship, truck etc made regularly between two places:

It’s only a 55-minute run from London to Brighton.

the daily school run (=the journey that parents make each day taking their children to and from school) British English

b) informal a short journey in a car, for pleasure:

Let’s take the car out for a run.

17 . FOR ANIMALS [countable] an enclosed area where animals such as chickens or rabbits are kept:

a chicken run

18 . SPORT [countable] a point won in ↑ cricket or baseball:

Jones made 32 runs this afternoon.

19 . WINTER SPORTS [countable] a special area or track on a mountain for people to ↑ ski or ↑ sledge down:

a ski run

20 . ELECTION [countable usually singular] American English an attempt to be elected to an important position

run for

He is preparing a run for the presidency.

21 . IN CLOTHES [countable] American English a line of torn stitches in ↑ tight s or ↑ stocking s SYN ladder British English

22 . MUSIC [countable] a set of notes played or sung quickly up or down a ↑ scale in a piece of music

23 . CARD GAMES [countable] a set of cards with numbers in a series, held by one player

⇨ ↑ dry run , ↑ dummy run , ↑ fun run , ↑ milk run , ↑ print run , ↑ trial run

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.