in the long run

verb (used without object), ran, run, run·ning.

  1. to go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk and in such a manner that for an instant in each step all or both feet are off the ground.
  2. to move with haste; act quickly: Run upstairs and get the iodine.
  3. to depart quickly; take to flight; flee or escape: to run from danger.
  4. to have recourse for aid, support, comfort, etc.: He shouldn’t run to his parents with every little problem.
  5. to make a quick trip or informal visit for a short stay at a place: to run up to New York; I will run over to see you after dinner.
  6. to go around, rove, or ramble without restraint (often followed by about): to run about in the park.
  7. to move, roll, or progress from momentum or from being hurled, kicked, or otherwise propelled: The wheel ran over the curb and into the street.
  8. Sports.
    1. to take part in a race or contest.
    2. to finish in a race or contest in a certain numerical position: The horse ran second.
  9. to be or campaign as a candidate for election.
  10. to migrate, as fish: to run in huge shoals.
  11. to migrate upstream or inshore from deep water to spawn.
  12. to move under continuing power or force, as of the wind, a motor, etc.: The car ran along the highway.
  13. (of a ship, automobile, etc.) to be sailed or driven from a safe, proper, or given route: The ship ran aground.
  14. to ply between places, as a vessel or conveyance: This bus runs between New Haven and Hartford.
  15. to move, glide, turn, rotate, or pass easily, freely, or smoothly: A rope runs in a pulley.
  16. to creep, trail, or climb, as growing vines: The ivy ran up the side of the house.
  17. to come undone or to unravel, as stitches or a fabric: these stockings run easily.
  18. to flow, as a liquid: Let the water run before you drink it.
  19. to flow along, especially strongly, as a stream or the sea: The rapids ran over the rocks.
  20. to empty or transfer contents: The river ran into the sea.
  21. to appear, occur, or exist within a certain limited range; include a specific range of variations (usually followed by from): Your work runs from fair to bad.
  22. to melt and flow or drip: Wax ran down the burning candle.
  23. Golf. (of a golf ball) to bounce or roll along the ground just after landing from a stroke: The ball struck the green and ran seven feet past the hole.
  24. to spread on being applied to a surface, as a liquid: Fresh paint ran over the window molding onto the pane.
  25. to spread over a material when exposed to moisture: The dyes in this fabric are guaranteed not to run in washing.
  26. to undergo a spreading of colors: materials that run when washed.
  27. to flow forth as a discharge: Tears ran from her eyes.
  28. to discharge or give passage to a liquid or fluid: Her eyes ran with tears.
  29. to operate or function: How does your new watch run? Cars run on gasoline.
  30. to be in operation: the noise of a dishwasher running.
  31. to continue in operation: The furnace runs most of the day.
  32. to elapse; pass or go by, as time: Time is running out, and we must hurry.
  33. to pass into or meet with a certain state or condition: to run into debt; to run into trouble.
  34. to get or become: The well ran dry.
  35. to amount; total: The bill ran to $100.
  36. to be stated or worded in a certain manner: The minutes of the last meeting run as follows.
  37. Commerce.
    1. to accumulate, follow, or become payable in due course, as interest on a debt: Your interest runs from January 1st to December 31st.
    2. to make many withdrawals in rapid succession, as from a bank.
  38. Law.
    1. to have legal force or effect, as a writ.
    2. to continue to operate.
    3. to go along with: The easement runs with the land.
  39. to proceed, continue, or go: The story runs for eight pages.
  40. to extend in a given direction: This road runs north to Litchfield.
  41. to extend for a certain length: The unpaved section runs for eight miles.
  42. to extend over a given surface: Shelves ran from floor to ceiling.
  43. to be printed, as on a printing press: Two thousand copies ran before the typo was caught.
  44. to appear in print or be published as a story, photograph, etc., in a newspaper, magazine, or the like: The account ran in all the papers. The political cartoon always runs on the editorial page.
  45. to be performed on a stage or be played continually, as a play: The play ran for two years.
  46. to occur or take place continuously, as a movie: The picture runs for two hours.
  47. to pass quickly: A thought ran through his mind. Her eyes ran over the room.
  48. to be disseminated, circulated, or spread rapidly: The news of his promotion ran all over town.
  49. to continue or return persistently; recur: The old tune ran through his mind all day.
  50. to have or tend to have or produce a specified character, quality, form, etc.: This novel runs to long descriptions. Her sister is fat too, but the family runs to being overweight.
  51. to be or continue to be of a certain or average size, number, etc.: Potatoes are running large this year.
  52. Nautical. to sail before the wind.

verb (used with object), ran, run, run·ning.

  1. to move or run along (a surface, way, path, etc.): Every morning he ran the dirt path around the reservoir to keep in condition. She ran her fingers over the keyboard.
  2. to traverse (a distance) in running: He ran the mile in just over four minutes.
  3. to perform, compete in, or accomplish by or as by running: to run a race; to run an errand.
  4. to go about freely on or in without supervision: permitting children to run the streets.
  5. to ride or cause to gallop: to run a horse across a field.
  6. to enter in a race: He ran his best filly in the Florida Derby.
  7. to bring into a certain state by running: He ran himself out of breath trying to keep pace.
  8. to trace, track, pursue or hunt, as game: to run deer on foot.
  9. to drive (an animal) or cause to go by pursuing: to run a fox to cover; to run the stallion into the barn.
  10. to leave, flee, or escape from: He ran town before the robbery was discovered.
  11. to cause to ply between places, as a vessel or conveyance: to run a ferry between New York and New Jersey.
  12. to convey or transport, as in a vessel or vehicle: I’ll run you home in my car.
  13. to cause to pass quickly: He ran his eyes over the letter. She ran a comb through her hair.
  14. to get past or through: to run a blockade.
  15. (of drivers or cyclists) to disregard (a red or amber traffic light) and continue ahead without stopping.
  16. to smuggle (contraband goods): to run guns across the border.
  17. to work, operate, or drive: Can you run a tractor?
  18. to publish, print, or make copies of, as on a printing press (sometimes followed by off): Run off 3000 of these posters. The newspapers ran the story on page one.
  19. to process, refine, manufacture, or subject to an analysis or treatment: The doctor wanted to run a blood test. The factory ran 50,000 gallons of paint a day.
  20. to keep operating or going, as a machine: They ran the presses 24 hours a day.
  21. to keep (a motor) idling for an indefinite period: On cold days he would run the car motor to prevent stalling.
  22. to allow (a ship, automobile, etc.) to depart from a safe, proper, or given route, as by negligence or error: He ran the ship aground. She ran the car up on the curb.
  23. to sponsor, support, or nominate (a person) as a candidate for election.
  24. to manage or conduct: to run a business; to run one’s own life.
  25. Computers. to process (the instructions in a program) by computer.
  26. (in some games, as billiards) to continue or complete a series of successful strokes, shots, or the like.
  27. Cards. to lead a series (of one’s assured tricks or winners in a given suit): He ran the heart suit before leading spades.
  28. to expose oneself to or be exposed to (a chance, risk, etc.): Through his habitual lateness he ran the danger of being fired.
  29. to cause (a liquid) to flow: to run the water for a bath.
  30. to fill (a tub or bath) with water: She ran a hot tub for him.
  31. to give forth or flow with (a liquid); pour forth or discharge: The well ran 500 barrels of oil daily.
  32. to charge (an item or items) as on a charge account or to accumulate (bills) to be paid all at one time: He ran a large monthly tab at the club.
  33. to cause to move easily, freely, or smoothly: to run a rope in a pulley.
  34. Golf. to cause (a golf ball) to move forward along the ground after landing from a stroke: He ran his ball seven feet past the hole.
  35. to sew or use a running stitch: to run a seam.
  36. to cause stitches in (a garment or fabric) to unravel or come undone: to run a stocking on a protruding nail.
  37. to bring, lead, or force into a certain state or condition: He ran his troops into an ambush. They ran themselves into debt.
  38. to drive, force, or thrust: to run a nail into a board; to run one’s head against a wall; to run one’s hand into one’s pocket.
  39. to graze; pasture: They run sixty head of cattle on their ranch.
  40. to extend (something) in a particular direction or to a given point or place: to run a partition across a room; to run a telephone cable from Boston to Buffalo.
  41. Carpentry. to make (millwork) from boards.
  42. to cause to fuse and flow, as metal for casting in a mold.
  43. to draw, trace, or mark out, as a line: to run a line over a surface; to run a line through a word.
  44. to cost (an amount or approximate amount): This watch runs $30.
  45. to cost (a person) an amount or approximate amount: The car repair will run you a couple of hundred at least.


  1. an act or instance, or a period of running: a five-minute run before breakfast.
  2. a hurrying to or from some point, as on an errand: a run to reach the store before it closes.
  3. a fleeing, especially in great haste; flight: a run from the police who were hot on his trail.
  4. a running pace: The boys set out at a run.
  5. an act or instance or a period of moving rapidly, as in a boat or automobile: a run to shore before the storm.
  6. distance covered, as by racing, running, or during a trip: a three-mile run.
  7. an act or instance or a period of traveling or moving between two places; trip: a truck on its daily run from farm to market; a nonstop run from Louisville to Memphis.
  8. Computers. a single instance of carrying out the sequence of instructions in a program.
  9. Golf. the distance that a golf ball moves along the ground after landing from a stroke: He got a seven-foot run with his chip shot.
  10. a quick trip for a short stay at a place: to take a run up to New York.
  11. Military.
    1. bomb run.
    2. any portion of a military flight during which the aircraft flies directly toward the target in order to begin its attack: a strafing run.
  12. Aeronautics.
    1. the rapid movement, under its own power, of an aircraft on a runway, water, or another surface.
    2. a routine flight from one place to another: the evening run from New York to London.
  13. Journalism. beat(def 40b).
  14. an interval or period during which something, as a machine, operates or continues operating: They kept each press in the plant on a 14-hour run.
  15. the amount of anything produced in such a period: a daily run of 400,000 gallons of paint.
  16. pressrun.
  17. a line or place in knitted work where a series of stitches have slipped out or come undone: a run in a stocking.
  18. onward movement, development, progress, course, etc.: the run of our business from a small store to a large chain.
  19. the direction of something or of its component elements: the run of the grain of wood.
  20. the particular course, order, or tendency of something: the normal run of events.
  21. freedom to move around in, pass through, or use something: to allow one’s guests the run of the house.
  22. any rapid or easy course of progress: a run from trainee to supervisor.
  23. a continuous series of performances, as of a play: a long run on Broadway.
  24. an uninterrupted course of some state or condition; a spell: a run of good luck; a run of good weather.
  25. a continuous extent of something, as a vein of ore.
  26. an uninterrupted series or sequence of things, events, etc.: a run of 30 scoreless innings.
  27. a sequence of cards in a given suit: a heart run.
  28. Cribbage. a sequence of three or more cards in consecutive denominations without regard to suits.
  29. any extensive continued demand, sale, or the like: a run on umbrellas on a rainy day.
  30. a series of sudden and urgent demands for payment, as on a bank.
  31. a period of being in demand or favor with the public: Her last book had a briefer run than her first.
  32. a period during which liquid flows: They kept each oil well on an eight-hour run.
  33. the amount that flows during such a period: a run of 500 barrels a day.
  34. a small stream; brook; rivulet.
  35. a flow or rush, as of water: The snow melting on the mountains caused a run of water into the valley.
  36. a kind or class, as of goods: a superior run of blouses.
  37. the typical, ordinary, or average kind: The run of 19th-century novels tends to be of a sociological nature.
  38. an inclined course, as on a slope, designed or used for a specific purpose: a bobsled run; a run for training beginning skiers.
  39. a fairly large enclosure within which domestic animals may move about freely; runway: a chicken run.
  40. Australian. a large sheep ranch or area of grazing land.
  41. the beaten track or usual trail used by deer or other wild animals; runway.
  42. a trough or pipe for water or the like.
  43. the movement of a number of fish upstream or inshore from deep water.
  44. large numbers of fish in motion, especially inshore from deep water or up a river for spawning: a run of salmon.
  45. a number of animals moving together.
  46. Music. a rapid succession of tones; roulade.
  47. Building Trades.
    1. the horizontal distance between the face of a wall and the ridge of a roof.
    2. the distance between the first and last risers of a flight of steps or staircase.
    3. the horizontal distance between successive risers on a flight of steps or a staircase.
  48. Baseball. the score unit made by safely running around all the bases and reaching home plate.
  49. a series of successful shots, strokes, or the like, in a game.
  50. Nautical. the immersed portion of a hull abaft the middle body (opposed to entrance).
  51. the runs, (used with a singular or plural verb) Informal. diarrhea.


  1. melted or liquefied: run butter.
  2. poured in a melted state; run into and cast in a mold: run bronze.

Verb Phrases

  1. run across, to meet or find accidentally: She ran across an old friend at the party. He ran across her name in the phone book.
  2. run after,
    1. to follow; chase: The dog ran after the burglar.
    2. to pursue or court the affections of, especially in an aggressive manner: He ran after her until she agreed to marry him.
    3. to attempt to become friendly with or part of the society of: He runs after the country-club set.
  3. run along, to leave; go on one’s way: I have to run along now, but I’ll see you tonight. Run along—can’t you see I’m busy?
  4. run around,
    1. (often followed by with) to socialize; consort with: She runs around with the strangest people.
    2. to be unfaithful to one’s spouse or lover: It was common knowledge that he was running around.
  5. run away,
    1. to flee or escape; leave a place of confinement or control with the intention of never returning: He ran away from home three times.
    2. haul on a line by walking or running steadily.
  6. run away with,
    1. to go away with, especially to elope with: She ran away with a sailor.
    2. to abscond with; steal: to run away with some valuable jewelry.
    3. to surpass others in; be outstanding in: to run away with academic honors.
    4. to overwhelm; get the better of: Sometimes his enthusiasm runs away with him.
  7. run down,
    1. to strike and fell or overturn, especially to drive a vehicle into (someone): to run down an innocent pedestrian.
    2. to pursue until captured; chase: The detective swore that he would run down the criminal.
    3. to peruse; review: His eyes ran down the front row and stopped suddenly.
    4. to cease operation; stop: My watch has run down.
    5. to speak disparagingly of; criticize severely: The students were always running down their math teacher.
    6. to search out; trace; find: to run down information.
    7. tag out (a base runner) between bases.
    8. collide with and sink (another vessel).
    9. sail closely parallel to (a coast).
  8. run in,
    1. to visit casually: If I’m in the neighborhood, I may run in for a few minutes.
    2. to include in a text, as something to be inserted.
    3. arrest; take to jail: They ran him in for burglary.
    4. add (matter) to text without indenting.
    5. to break in (new machinery).
  9. run into,
    1. to crash into; collide with: She was so sleepy that she ran into a lamppost.
    2. to meet accidentally: You never know whom you’ll run into at a big party.
    3. to amount to; total: losses that ran into millions of dollars.
    4. to succeed; follow: One year ran into the next, and still there was no change.
    5. to experience; encounter: The project ran into difficulty.
  10. run in with, Nautical. to sail close to (a coast, vessel, etc.).
  11. run off,
    1. to leave quickly; depart.
    2. to create or perform rapidly or easily: to run off a new song.
    3. to determine the winner of (a contest, race, etc.) by a runoff.
    4. to drive away; expel: to run someone off one’s property.
    5. to print or otherwise duplicate: Please run off 500 copies.
  12. run off with,
    1. to abscond with (something); steal or borrow; take: He ran off with the money. Who ran off with the pencil sharpener?
    2. to elope: I hear she ran off with the Smith boy.
  13. run on,
    1. to continue without interruption: The account that he gave ran on at some length.
    2. add (matter) to text without indenting.
    3. to add something, as at the end of a text: to run on an adverb to a dictionary entry.
  14. run out,
    1. to terminate; expire: My subscription ran out last month. Time ran out before we could score another touchdown.
    2. to become used up: His money soon ran out.
    3. to drive out; expel: They want to run him out of the country.
  15. run out of, to exhaust a quantity or supply of: She couldn’t bake a cake because she had run out of sugar.
  16. run out on, to withdraw one’s support from; abandon: No one could accuse him of running out on his friends.
  17. run over,
    1. to hit and knock down, especially with a vehicle: She cried inconsolably when her cat was run over by a car.
    2. to go beyond; exceed: His speech ran over the time limit.
    3. to repeat; review: We’ll run over that song again.
    4. to overflow, as a vessel.
  18. run through,
    1. to pierce or stab, as with a sword: to run someone through.
    2. to consume or use up recklessly; squander: to run through a fortune.
    3. to practice, review, or rehearse quickly or informally: to run through a scene.
  19. run up,
    1. to sew rapidly: She ran up some curtains.
    2. to amass; incur: running up huge debts.
    3. to cause to increase; raise: to run up costs unnecessarily.
    4. to build, especially hurriedly: They are tearing down old tenement blocks and running up skyscrapers.
  20. run with, Informal.
    1. to proceed or go ahead with: If the stockholders like the idea, we’ll run with it.
    2. to carry out with enthusiasm or speed.
  1. a run for one’s money,
    1. close or keen competition: The out-of-town team gave us a run for our money.
    2. enjoyment or profit in return for one’s expense: This may not be the best tool kit, but it will give you a run for your money.
  2. in the long run, in the course of long experience; in the end: Retribution will come, in the long run.
  3. in the short run, as an immediate or temporary outcome: Recession may be averted in the short run if policy changes are made now.
  4. on the run,
    1. moving quickly; hurrying about: He’s so busy, he’s always on the run.
    2. while running or in a hurry: I usually eat breakfast on the run.
    3. escaping or hiding from the police: He was on the run for two years.
  5. run afoul of,
    1. collide with so as to cause damage and entanglement.
    2. to incur or become subject to the wrath or ill will of: to run afoul of the law; He argued with his father and has run afoul of him ever since.
  6. run for it, to hurry away or flee, especially to evade something: You had better run for it before anyone else arrives.
  7. run in place,
    1. to go through the motions of running without leaving one’s original place.
    2. to exist or work without noticeable change, progress, or improvement.
  8. run out of gas, Informal.
    1. to exhaust or lose one’s energy, enthusiasm, etc.: After the first game of tennis, I ran out of gas and had to rest.
    2. to falter for lack of impetus, ideas, capital, etc.: The economic recovery seems to be running out of gas.
  9. run scared, to be thrown into a state of fear or uncertainty because of a perceived threat; be apprehensive about survival or the future: Many businesses are running scared because of increasing competition.

verb runs, running, ran or run

  1. (intr)
    1. (of a two-legged creature) to move on foot at a rapid pace so that both feet are off the ground together for part of each stride
    2. (of a four-legged creature) to move at a rapid gait; gallop or canter
  2. (tr) to pass over (a distance, route, etc) in runningto run a mile; run a race
  3. (intr) to run in or finish a race as specified, esp in a particular positionJohn is running third
  4. (tr) to perform or accomplish by or as if by runningto run an errand
  5. (intr) to flee; run awaythey took to their heels and ran
  6. (tr) to bring into a specified state or condition by runningto run oneself to a standstill
  7. (tr) to track down or hunt (an animal)to run a fox to earth
  8. (intr) to move about freely and without restraintthe children are running in the garden
  9. (intr usually foll by to) to go or have recourse, as for aid, assistance, etche’s always running to his mother when he’s in trouble
  10. (tr) to set (animals) loose on (a field or tract of land) so as to graze freely
  11. (intr ; often foll by over, round or up) to make a short trip or brief informal visitI’ll run over to your house this afternoon
  12. to move quickly and easily on wheels by rolling, or in any of certain other waysa ball running along the ground; a sledge running over snow
  13. to move or cause to move with a specified result or in a specified mannerto run a ship aground; to run into a tree
  14. (often foll by over) to move or pass or cause to move or pass quicklyto run a vacuum cleaner over the carpet; to run one’s eyes over a page
  15. (tr ; foll by into, out of, through, etc) to force, thrust, or driveshe ran a needle into her finger
  16. (tr) to drive or maintain and operate (a vehicle)
  17. (tr) to give a lift to (someone) in a vehicle; transporthe ran her to the railway station
  18. to ply or cause to ply between places on a routethe bus runs from Piccadilly to Golders Green
  19. to operate or be operated; function or cause to functionthe engine is running smoothly
  20. (tr) to perform or carry outto run tests
  21. (tr) to be in charge of; manageto run a company
  22. to extend or continue or cause to extend or continue in a particular direction, for a particular duration or distance, etcthe road runs north; the play ran for two years; the months ran into years
  23. (intr) law
    1. to have legal force or effectthe lease runs for two more years
    2. to accompany; be an integral part of or adjunct toan easement runs with the land
  24. (tr) to be subjected to, be affected by, or incurto run a risk; run a temperature
  25. (intr often foll by to) to be characterized (by); tend or inclineher taste runs to extravagant hats; to run to fat
  26. (intr) to recur persistently or be inherentred hair runs in my family
  27. to cause or allow (liquids) to flow or (of liquids) to flow, esp in a manner specifiedwater ran from the broken pipe; the well has run dry
  28. (intr) to melt and flowthe wax grew hot and began to run
  29. metallurgy
    1. to melt or fuse
    2. (tr)to mould or cast (molten metal)to run lead into ingots
  30. (intr) (of waves, tides, rivers, etc) to rise high, surge, or be at a specified heighta high sea was running that night
  31. (intr) to be diffusedthe colours in my dress ran when I washed it
  32. (intr) (of stitches) to unravel or come undone or (of a garment) to have stitches unravel or come undoneif you pull that thread the whole seam will run
  33. to sew (an article) with continuous stitches
  34. (intr) (of growing vines, creepers, etc) to trail, spread, or climbivy running over a cottage wall
  35. (intr) to spread or circulate quicklya rumour ran through the town
  36. (intr) to be stated or reportedhis story runs as follows
  37. to publish or print or be published or printed in a newspaper, magazine, etcthey ran his story in the next issue
  38. (often foll by for) mainly US and Canadian to be a candidate or present as a candidate for political or other officeAnderson is running for president
  39. (tr) to get past or through; evadeto run a blockade
  40. (tr) to deal in (arms, etc), esp by importing illegallyhe runs guns for the rebels
  41. nautical to sail (a vessel, esp a sailing vessel) or (of such a vessel) to be sailed with the wind coming from astern
  42. (intr) (of fish)
    1. to migrate upstream from the sea, esp in order to spawn
    2. to swim rapidly in any area of water, esp during migration
  43. (tr) cricket to score (a run or number of runs) by hitting the ball and running between the wickets
  44. (tr) billiards snooker to make (a number of successful shots) in sequence
  45. (tr) golf to hit (the ball) so that it rolls along the ground
  46. (tr) bridge to cash (all one’s winning cards in a long suit) successively
  47. run a bath to turn on the taps to fill a bath with water for bathing oneself
  48. run close to compete closely with; present a serious challenge tohe got the job, but a younger man ran him close
  49. run for it informal to attempt to escape from arrest, etc, by running
  50. be run off one’s feet to be extremely busy


  1. an act, instance, or period of running
  2. a gait, pace, or motion faster than a walkshe went off at a run
  3. a distance covered by running or a period of runninga run of ten miles
  4. an act, instance, or period of travelling in a vehicle, esp for pleasureto go for a run in the car
  5. free and unrestricted accesswe had the run of the house and garden for the whole summer
    1. a period of time during which a machine, computer, etc, operates
    2. the amount of work performed in such a period
  6. a continuous or sustained perioda run of good luck
  7. a continuous sequence of performancesthe play had a good run
  8. cards a sequence of winning cards in one suit, usually more than fivea run of spades
  9. tendency or trendthe run of the market
  10. type, class, or categorythe usual run of graduates
  11. (usually foll by on) a continuous and urgent demanda run on butter; a run on the dollar
  12. a series of unravelled stitches, esp in stockings or tights; ladder
  13. the characteristic pattern or direction of somethingthe run of the grain on a piece of wood
    1. a continuous vein or seam of ore, coal, etc
    2. the direction in which it lies
    1. a period during which water or other liquid flows
    2. the amount of such a flow
  14. a pipe, channel, etc, through which water or other liquid flows
  15. US a small stream
  16. a steeply inclined pathway or course, esp a snow-covered one used for skiing and bobsleigh racingSee also green run, blue run, red run, black run
  17. an enclosure for domestic fowls or other animals, in which they have free movementa chicken run
  18. (esp in Australia and New Zealand) a tract of land for grazing livestock
  19. a track or area frequented by animalsa deer run; a rabbit run
  20. a group of animals of the same species moving together
  21. the migration of fish upstream in order to spawn
  22. nautical
    1. the tack of a sailing vessel in which the wind comes from astern
    2. part of the hull of a vessel near the stern where it curves upwards and inwards
  23. military
    1. a mission in a warplane
    2. short for bombing run
  24. the movement of an aircraft along the ground during takeoff or landing
  25. music a rapid scalelike passage of notes
  26. cricket a score of one, normally achieved by both batsmen running from one end of the wicket to the other after one of them has hit the ballCompare extra (def. 6), boundary (def. 2c)
  27. baseball an instance of a batter touching all four bases safely, thereby scoring
  28. golf the distance that a ball rolls after hitting the ground
  29. a run for one’s money informal
    1. a strong challenge or close competition
    2. pleasure derived from an activity
  30. in the long run as the eventual outcome of a sequence of events, actions, etc; ultimately
  31. in the short run as the immediate outcome of a series of events, etc
  32. on the run
    1. escaping from arrest; fugitive
    2. in rapid flight; retreatingthe enemy is on the run
    3. hurrying from place to placeshe’s always on the run
  33. the runs slang diarrhoea

the modern verb is a merger of two related Old English words, in both of which the first letters sometimes switched places. The first is intransitive rinnan, irnan “to run, flow, run together” (past tense ran, past participle runnen), cognate with (cf. Middle Dutch runnen, Old Saxon, Old High German, Gothic rinnan, German rinnen “to flow, run”).

The second is Old English transitive weak verb ærnan, earnan “ride, run to, reach, gain by running” (probably a metathesis of *rennan), from Proto-Germanic *rannjanan, causative of the root *ren- “to run.” This is cognate with Old Saxon renian, Old High German rennen, German rennen, Gothic rannjan.

Both are from PIE *ri-ne-a-, nasalized form of root *reie- “to flow, run” (see Rhine).

Of streams, etc., from c.1200; of machinery, from 1560s. Meaning “be in charge of” is first attested 1861, originally American English. Meaning “seek office in an election” is from 1826, American English. Phrase run for it “take flight” is attested from 1640s. Many figurative uses are from horseracing or hunting (e.g. to run (something) into the ground, 1836, American English).

To run across “meet” is attested from 1855, American English. To run short “exhaust one’s supply” is from 1752; to run out of in the same sense is from 1713. To run around with “consort with” is from 1887. Run away “flee in the face of danger” is from late 14c. To run late is from 1954.


“a spell of running,” mid-15c. (earlier ren, late 14c.), from run (v.). The Old English noun ryne meant “a flowing, a course, a watercourse.” Modern sense of “small stream” first recorded 1580s, mostly Northern English dialect and American English.

Meaning “continuous stretch” (of something) is from 1670s. Meaning “series or rush of demands on a bank, etc.” is first recorded 1690s. Meaning “the privilege of going through or over” is from 1755. Baseball sense is from 1856. Meaning “single trip by a railroad train” is from 1857. Military aircraft sense is from 1916. Meaning “total number of copies printed” is from 1909. Meaning “tear in a knitted garment” is from 1922. Phrase a run for one’s money is from 1872 in a figurative sense, originally from horse racing, implying competition (1841).

Over a lengthy period of time, in the end. For example, He realized that in the long run, their argument wouldn’t seem so awful. This expression, which originated as at the long run in the early 1600s, presumably alludes to a runner who continues on his course to the end. Economist John Maynard Keynes used it in a much-quoted quip about economic planning: “In the long run we are all dead.” The antonym, in the short run, meaning “over a short period of time,” dates only from the 1800s. The novelist George Eliot used both in a letter (October 18, 1879): “Mrs. Healy’s marriage is surely what you expected in the long or short run.”

In addition to the idioms beginning with run

  • run across
  • run a fever
  • run afoul of
  • run after
  • run against
  • run along
  • run amok
  • run an errand
  • run a risk
  • run around
  • run around in circles
  • run around like a chicken
  • run around with
  • run a temperature
  • run a tight ship
  • run away
  • run away with
  • run by someone
  • run circles around
  • run counter to
  • run down
  • run dry
  • run for it
  • run for one’s money, a
  • run foul
  • run high
  • run in
  • run in place
  • run interference
  • run in the blood
  • run into
  • run into a stone wall
  • run into the ground
  • run its course
  • run like clockwork
  • running on empty
  • running start
  • run off
  • run off at the mouth
  • run off with
  • run of luck
  • run of the mill
  • run on
  • run one ragged
  • run one’s eyes over
  • run one’s head against the wall
  • run one’s own show
  • run out
  • run out of
  • run out on
  • run over
  • run rings around
  • run riot
  • run scared
  • run short
  • run someone in
  • run someone off his or her feet
  • run the gamut
  • run the gauntlet
  • run the show
  • run through
  • run to
  • run to earth
  • run to form
  • run to seed
  • run up
  • run wild
  • run with

also see:

  • beat (run) one’s head against the wall
  • cut and run
  • dry run
  • eat and run
  • end run
  • go (run) around in circles
  • great minds (run in the same channel)
  • home run
  • in the long run
  • like clockwork, run
  • make a break (run) for
  • make one’s blood run cold
  • (run) off someone’s feet
  • on the run
  • still waters run deep
  • tight ship, run a
  • well’s run dry

Also see underrunning.

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