Definition of run verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//rʌn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rʌn//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they run
    BrE BrE//rʌn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rʌn//
    he / she / it runs
    BrE BrE//rʌnz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rʌnz//
    past simple ran
    BrE BrE//ræn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ræn//
    past participle run
    BrE BrE//rʌn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rʌn//
    -ing form running
    BrE BrE//ˈrʌnɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈrʌnɪŋ//
    Elections, Committing crime, Train and bus travel, Exercise, Driving, How machines work
    jump to other results
    move fast on foot
  1. 1  [intransitive] 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. I had to run to catch the bus. The dogs ran off as soon as we appeared. He ran home in tears to his mother. 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. See related entries: Exercise
  2. 2  [transitive] run something to travel a particular distance by running Who was the first person to run a mile in under four minutes? see also mile
  3. 3  [intransitive] (also go running) to run as a sport She used to run when she was at college. I often go running before work.
  4. race
  5. 4  [intransitive, transitive] to take part in a race run (in something) He will be running in the 100 metres tonight. There are only five horses running in the first race. run something to run the marathon Holmes ran a fine race to take the gold medal. see also runner (1)
  6. 5[transitive, often passive] run something to make a race take place The Derby will be run in spite of the bad weather.
  7. hurry
  8. 6[intransitive] + adv./prep. to hurry from one place to another I've spent the whole day running around after the kids. see also rat run
  9. manage
  10. 7  [transitive] run something 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 state-run industries see also running (2)
  11. provide
  12. 8[transitive] run something to make a service, course of study, etc. available to people synonym organize The college runs summer courses for foreign students.
  13. vehicle/machine
  14. 9[transitive] run something (British English) to own and use a vehicle or machine I can't afford to run a car on my salary.
  15. 10  [intransitive, transitive] to operate or function; to make something do this Stan had the chainsaw running. (figurative) Her life had always run smoothly before. run on something Our van runs on (= uses) diesel. run something Could you run the engine for a moment? See related entries: How machines work
  16. buses/trains
  17. 11  [intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) to travel on a particular route Buses to Oxford run every half hour. Trains between London and Brighton run throughout the day. All the trains are running late (= are leaving later than planned). See related entries: Train and bus travel
  18. 12[transitive] run something (+ adv./prep.) to make buses, trains, etc. travel on a particular route They run extra trains during the rush hour.
  19. drive somebody
  20. 13[transitive] run somebody + adv./prep. (informal) to drive somebody to a place in a car Shall I run you home? See related entries: Driving
  21. move somewhere
  22. 14  [intransitive] + 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.
  23. 15  [transitive] run something + adv./prep. to move something in a particular direction She ran her fingers nervously through her hair. I ran my eyes over the page.
  24. lead/stretch
  25. 16  [intransitive, transitive] to lead or stretch from one place to another; to make something do this + adv./prep. He had a scar running down his left cheek. The road runs parallel to the river. run something + adv./prep. We ran a cable from the lights to the stage.
  26. continue for time
  27. 17[intransitive] run (for something) 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!
  28. 18[intransitive] run (for something) 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.
  29. happen
  30. 19  [intransitive] (usually used in the progressive tenses) to happen at the time mentioned + adv./prep. Programmes are running a few minutes behind schedule this evening. The murderer was given three life sentences, to run concurrently.
  31. guns, drugs, etc.
  32. 20[transitive] run something (+ adv./prep.) to bring or take something into a country illegally and secretly synonym smuggle He used to run guns across the border. see also runner See related entries: Committing crime
  33. of story/argument
  34. 21[intransitive, transitive] to have particular words, contents, etc. Their argument ran something like this… + speech ‘Ten shot dead by gunmen,’ ran the newspaper headline.
  35. liquid
  36. 22  [intransitive] + adv./prep. to flow The tears ran down her cheeks. Water was running all over the bathroom floor.
  37. 23[transitive] to make liquid flow run something (into something) She ran hot water into the bucket. to run the hot tap (= to turn it so that water flows from it) run something for somebody I'll run a bath for you. run somebody something I'll run you a bath.
  38. 24  [intransitive] 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.
  39. 25[intransitive] (usually used in the progressive tenses) run with something to be covered with a liquid His face was running with sweat. The bathroom floor was running with water.
  40. of colour
  41. 26[intransitive] 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 The colour ran and made all my underwear pink.
  42. melt
  43. 27[intransitive] (of a solid substance) to melt The wax began to run. see also runny
  44. be/become
  45. 28  [intransitive] + 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.
  46. 29[intransitive] run at something to be at or near a particular level Inflation was running at 26%.
  47. of newspaper/magazine
  48. 30[transitive] run something to print and publish an item or a story On advice from their lawyers they decided not to run the story.
  49. a test/check
  50. 31[transitive] run a test/check (on something) to do a test/check on something The doctors decided to run some more tests on the blood samples.
  51. in election
  52. 32  [intransitive] to be a candidate in an election for a political position, especially in the US Bush ran a second time in 2004. run for somebody/something to run for president run in something to run in the election compare stand See related entries: Elections
  53. of tights/stockings
  54. 33[intransitive] (North American English) if tights or stockings run, a long thin hole appears in them synonym ladder
  55. Word OriginOld 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.Extra examples He hopes to run for president in 2016. He just wanted to run away and hide. He ran headlong into an enemy patrol. He ran out of the house. He ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in New York. He was given two twelve-month sentences to run concurrently. In many respects his poetical development had run parallel to Wordsworth’s. John can run very fast. Local buses run regularly to and from the school. Our car only runs on unleaded petrol. She ran quickly downstairs. She turned and ran blindly down the street. Stop trying to run my life for me. The engine was running very smoothly. The group is run independently of college authorities. The programme will be jointly run with NASA in the US. The railway line runs right past the house. The road and the canal run parallel to each other. The road runs alongside the canal. The school is jointly run with the local parish. The train was running late, as usual. The two experiments are run in parallel. Things ran very smoothly for a while. We soon had the sound system up and running. (in stories) Sharon ran as fast as her legs could carry her. Alan was running for a bus when he slipped on some ice. Billy turned the corner and ran headlong into Mrs Bradley. Don’t run away! I only want to talk to you! He claimed that 95 per cent of trains run on time. He tried to run the restaurant himself, but soon got into financial difficulties. I like to go running in the mornings before work. I ran four miles today. I’ve spent the whole day running around after the kids. It is a small, privately run hotel. Our van runs on diesel. Quick— run for it! Run after her and tell her she’s forgotten her bag. She ran quickly up the stairs. Terrified, he ran all the way home. The ball hit the hole and ran past. The boy went running off to get the ball. The buses run every thirty minutes. The college runs several English classes for adults. The course teaches some of the skills you need to set up and run a business. The office had never been so well run. The old tramlines are still there but no trams run on them now. The sledge ran smoothly over the snow. They ran a series of lectures on the subject. They’ve seen us! Run for your life! Try to run round the block a few times every morning. Volunteer counsellors run a 24-hour helpline. What applications were you running when the problem occurred? When does the London Underground stop running at night? Which operating system have you got running? Who is running the event? Your nose is running.Idioms Most idioms containing run are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example run riot is at riot.  a situation in which somebody only just wins or loses, for example in a competition or an election Mr Taylor’s election defeat was a close-run thing. The invasion never happened but it was a close-run thing. to be pleased to do what somebody wants She knew she had only to call and he would come running. (informal) to start doing something and continue very quickly and successfully (often used in orders) to run in order to escape from somebody/something working fully and correctly It will be a lot easier when we have the database up and running. Phrasal Verbsrun across somebodyrun after somebodyrun after somebodyrun alongrun around with somebodyrun at somebodyrun awayrun away from somethingrun away with somethingrun away with yourun back over somethingrun something by somebodyrun downrun somethingdownrun down somebodyrun somebodyinrun somethinginrun into somebodyrun into somethingrun into somebodyrun something into somebodyrun offrun somethingoffrun off with somebodyrun off with somebodyrun off with somethingrun onrun on somethingrun outrun out (of something)run somebodyoutrun out on somebodyrun overrun over somebodyrun over somethingrun something past somebodyrun somebodythroughrun through somethingrun to somethingrun somethinguprun up against somethingrun with somebodyrun with something
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: run