/ rʌn; NAmE / verb , noun
( running , ran / ræn; NAmE / run )
MOVE FAST ON FOOT
[ v ] to move using your legs, going faster than when you walk :
Can you run as fast as Mike?
They turned and ran when they saw us coming.
She came running to meet us.
The dogs ran off as soon as we appeared.
HELP NOTE : In spoken English run can be used with and plus another verb, instead of with to and the infinitive, especially to tell somebody to hurry and do something:
Run and get your swimsuits, kids.
I ran and knocked on the nearest door.
[ vn ] to travel a particular distance by running :
Who was the first person to run a mile in under four minutes?
—see also mile
[ v ] (sometimes go running ) to run as a sport :
She used to run when she was at college.
I often go running before work.
run (in sth) to take part in a race :
[ v ]
He will be running in the 100 metres tonight.
There are only five horses running in the first race.
[ vn ]
to run the marathon
Holmes ran a fine race to take the gold medal.
—see also runner (1)
[ vn ] [ often passive ] to make a race take place :
The Derby will be run in spite of the bad weather.
[ v + adv. / prep. ] to hurry from one place to another :
I've spent the whole day running around after the kids.
—see also rat run
[ vn ] to be in charge of a business, etc. :
to run a hotel / store / language school
He has no idea how to run a business.
Stop trying to run my life (= organize it) for me.
The shareholders want more say in how the company is run.
a badly run company
—see also running noun (2)
[ vn ] to make a service, course of study, etc. available to people
SYN organize :
The college runs summer courses for foreign students.
VEHICLE / MACHINE
[ vn ] to own and use a vehicle or machine :
I can't afford to run a car on my salary.
run (on sth) to operate or function; to make sth do this :
[ v ]
Stan had the chainsaw running.
Our van runs on (= uses) diesel.
( figurative )
Her life had always run smoothly before.
[ vn ]
Could you run the engine for a moment?
BUSES / TRAINS
[ v , usually + adv. / prep. ] to travel on a particular route :
Buses to Oxford run every half-hour.
All the trains are running late (= are leaving later than planned) .
[ vn , usually + adv. / prep. ] to make buses, trains, etc. travel on a particular route :
They run extra trains during the rush hour.
[ vn + adv. / prep. ] ( informal ) to drive sb to a place in a car :
Shall I run you home?
[ v + adv. / prep. ] to move, especially quickly, in a particular direction :
The car ran off the road into a ditch.
A shiver ran down my spine.
The sledge ran smoothly over the frozen snow.
The old tramlines are still there but now no trams run on them.
[ vn + adv. / prep. ] to move sth in a particular direction :
She ran her fingers nervously through her hair.
I ran my eyes over the page.
LEAD / STRETCH
[+ adv. / prep. ] to lead or stretch from one place to another; to make sth do this :
[ v ]
He had a scar running down his left cheek.
The road runs parallel to the river.
[ vn ]
We ran a cable from the lights to the stage.
CONTINUE FOR TIME
[ v ] run (for sth) to continue for a particular period of time without stopping :
Her last musical ran for six months on Broadway.
This debate will run and run !
[ v ] run (for sth) to operate or be valid for a particular period of time :
The permit runs for three months.
The lease on my house only has a year left to run.
[ v + adv. / prep. ] (usually used in the progressive tenses) to happen at the time mentioned :
Programmes are running a few minutes behind schedule this evening.
The murderer was given three life sentences, to run concurrently.
GUNS, DRUGS, etc.
[ vn , usually + adv. / prep. ] to bring or take sth into a country illegally and secretly
—see also runner
OF STORY / ARGUMENT
to have particular words, contents, etc. :
[ v ]
Their argument ran something like this ...
[ v speech ]
'Ten shot dead by gunmen,' ran the newspaper headline.
[ v + adv. / prep. ] to flow :
The tears ran down her cheeks.
Water was running all over the bathroom floor.
run sth (for sb) | run (sb) sth to make liquid flow :
[ vn ]
She ran hot water into the bucket.
to run the hot tap (= to turn it so that water flows from it)
[ vn , vnn ]
I'll run a bath for you.
I'll run you a bath .
[ v ] to send out a liquid :
Who left the tap running?
Your nose is running (= mucus is flowing from it) .
The smoke makes my eyes run.
[ v ] run with sth (usually used in the progressive tenses) to be covered with a liquid :
His face was running with sweat.
The bathroom floor was running with water.
[ v ] if the colour runs in a piece of clothing when it gets wet, it dissolves and may come out of the clothing into other things
[ v ] ( of a solid substance ) to melt :
The wax began to run.
—see also runny
BE / BECOME
[ v - adj ] to become different in a particular way, especially a bad way :
The river ran dry (= stopped flowing) during the drought.
Supplies are running low .
We've run short of milk.
You've got your rivals running scared .
[ v ] run at sth to be at or near a particular level :
Inflation was running at 26%.
OF NEWSPAPER / MAGAZINE
[ vn ] to print and publish an item or a story :
On advice from their lawyers they decided not to run the story.
A TEST / CHECK
[ vn ] run a test / check (on sth) to do a test / check on sth :
The doctors decided to run some more tests on the blood samples.
[ v ] run (for sb/sth) | run (in sth) to be a candidate in an election for a political position, especially in the US :
Clinton ran a second time in 1996.
to run for president
to run in the election
—compare stand verb (16)
OF TIGHTS / STOCKINGS
[ v ] ( NAmE ) if tights or stockings run , a long thin hole appears in them
Most idioms containing run are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example run riot is at riot .
- come running
- run for it
- up and running
- run across sb/sth
- run after sb
- run after sb/sth
- run along
- run around with sb
- run at sb
- run away (from sb / ... )
- run away from sth
- run away with you
- run away / off with sb | run away / off (together)
- run away with sth
- run back over sth
- run sth by / past sb
- run down
- run sth down
- run sb/sth down
- run sb in
- run sth in
- run into sb
- run into sth
- run into sb/sth
- run sth into sb/sth
- run off
- run sth off
- run off with sb | run off (together)
- run off with sth
- run on
- run on sth
- run out
- run out (of sth)
- run out on sb
- run sb out
- run over
- run sb/sth over
- run over sth
- run sth past sb
- run sb through
- run through sth
- run to sth
- run sth up
- run up against sth
- run with sb
- run with sth
[ C ] an act of running; a period of time spent running or the distance that sb runs :
I go for a run every morning.
a five-mile run
Catching sight of her he broke into a run (= started running) .
I decided to make a run for it (= to escape by running) .
She took the stairs at a run .
—see also fun run
[ C ] a trip by car, plane, boat, etc., especially a short one or one that is made regularly :
They took the car out for a run.
—see also milk run , rat run , school run
OF SUCCESS / FAILURE
[ C ] a period of sth good or bad happening; a series of successes or failures
SYN spell :
a run of good / bad luck
Liverpool lost to Leeds, ending an unbeaten run of 18 games.
OF PLAY / MOVIE
[ C ] a series of performances of a play or film / movie :
The show had a record-breaking run in the London theatre.
[ C ] the amount of a product that a company decides to make at one time :
The first print run of 6 000 copies sold out.
[ C , usually sing. ] run on the dollar, pound, etc. a situation when many people sell dollars, etc. and the value of the money falls
[ C , usually sing. ] run on sth a situation when many people suddenly want to buy sth :
a run on the band's latest CD
[ C , usually sing. ] run on a bank a situation when many people suddenly want to take their money out of a bank
WAY THINGS HAPPEN
[ sing. ] the ~ of sth the way things usually happen; the way things seem to be happening on a particular occasion :
In the normal run of things the only exercise he gets is climbing in and out of taxis.
( BrE )
Wise scored in the 15th minute against the run of play (= although the other team had seemed more likely to score) .
[ C ] a sloping track used in skiing and some other sports :
a ski / toboggan, etc. run
[ C ] a point scored in the game of cricket or baseball :
Our team won by four runs.
—see also home run
[ sing. ] ( NAmE ) an act of trying to get elected to public office :
He made an unsuccessful run for governor in 2005.
FOR ANIMALS / BIRDS
[ C ] (often in compounds) a confined area in which animals or birds are kept as pets or on a farm :
a chicken run
[ C ] a series of notes sung or played quickly up or down the scale
IN CARD GAMES
[ C ] a series of cards held by one player
IN TIGHTS / STOCKINGS
[ C ] ( NAmE ) = ladder
the runs [ pl. ] ( informal ) = diarrhoea
—see also dry run , dummy run , trial run
- the common, general, ordinary, usual run (of sth)
- give sb / get / have the run of sth
- give sb a (good) run for their money
- on the run
—more at long adjective , short adjective
Old English rinnan , irnan (verb), of Germanic origin, probably reinforced in Middle English by Old Norse rinna , renna . The current form with -u- in the present tense is first recorded in the 16th cent.