1 /rVn/ verb past tense ran past participle run present participle running MOVE QUICKLY ON FOOT
1 (I) to move quickly on foot by moving your legs more quickly than when you are walking: I had to run to catch the bus. | Two youths were killed when running to help people injured in the bomb blast.
(+adv/prep): Each morning we ran down to the harbour to see the previous night's catch. | run for cover (=run in order to find shelter or protection): Suddenly shots rang out, and we had to run for cover. | run for your life (=in order to avoid being killed): Hundreds ran for their lives from the burning building.
a) (I, T) to take part in a running race: I'd never run a marathon before.
(+ in): Are you running in the 100 metres?
b) (T) to hold a race: The Derby will be run at 3 o'clock.
3 run for it spoken to run as quickly as possible in order to escape: Police - quick, run for it!
4 run and fetch/get/do sth spoken used to ask a child to get or do something quickly for you: Run and tell your father supper's ready.
5 run along spoken used to tell a child to go away: Run along now, all of you, I'm busy.
6 (T) to control or be in charge of a company, an organization, or system: For a while, she ran a restaurant in Boston. | Many people belong to a pension scheme run by their employers. | well/badly run (=organized efficiently/inefficiently): A well-run company should not have problems of this kind. | state-run (=controlled and paid for by the state): a state-run airline
—see control 1
7 run sb's life informal to keep telling someone what they should do all the time, in a way that they find annoying: Don't try to run my life!
8 MACHINES (I) if a machine runs, it operates: Don't touch the engine while it's running. | run on electricity/gas/unleaded petrol etc (=get its power from electricity etc) | run smoothly (=operate with all its parts working exactly as they should): My car's not running too smoothly at the moment.
9 COMPUTERS (I, T) to operate a computer program 1 (1): The RS 8 system runs both Unix and MPX-32.
10 up and running working fully and correctly: The new system won't be up and running until next week.
a) if a bus, train etc service runs, it takes people from one place to another at fixed times of the day: The buses don't run on Sundays.
b) (T) if someone runs a bus, train etc service, they make it operate: They're running special trains to and from the exhibition.
12 FAST/OUT OF CONTROL (intransitive always + adv/prep) to move too fast or in an uncontrolled way
(+ into/down/through etc): The truck ran downhill at a frightening speed. | Her car ran into a tree.
13 run aground/ashore if a ship runs aground, it cannot move because the water is not deep enough: An oil tanker has run aground near the Valdez oil terminal.
14 run a car to pay for all the things that are needed to keep a car working: I can't really afford to run a car.
15 run sb home/to the station etc informal to take someone somewhere in your car: Shall I run you home?
16 (intransitive always + adv/prep) to flow in a particular direction or place
(+ down/along etc): Big tears ran down Stephanie's face. | A stream ran through the garden.
17 TAP (I) if a tap (=thing for controlling the supply of water) is running, there is water coming out of it: Did you leave the kitchen faucet running?
18 run a bath to fill a bath with water: run sb a bath: Could you run me a nice hot bath while I finish my meal?
19 SB'S NOSE (I) if someone's nose is running, liquid is flowing out of it
20 OFFICIAL PAPERS (I) to continue to be officially able to be used for a particular period of time: The contract runs for a year. | My car insurance only has another month to run.
21 PLAY/FILM (I) to continue being performed regularly in one place: The play ran for two years.
22 STORY/ACCOUNT ETC (I) to continue in a particular way: I forget now how the story runs.
23 run its course to continue in the expected way until finished: Wait until the illness has run its course.
24 this one will run and run BrE humorous used to say that you think a problem, joke etc will continue for a long time
25 (I) to happen or take place, especially in the way that was intended: run according to plan (=happen in the way that you had planned): So far, it had all run exactly according to plan. | run smoothly (=happen with no unexpected problems): Her job is to ensure university catering runs smoothly.
26 (transitive always + adv/prep) to move or rub something lightly along a surface: run sth down/through/along: Charles ran his fingers through her hair.
27 (intransitive always + adv/prep) if thoughts or feelings run through you, you experience them suddenly
(+ through/down etc): The same thought kept running through his mind. | I felt a sharp pain run down my leg.
28 be running high if feelings are running high, people are becoming angry or upset about something: Feelings at the game were running high.
29 (intransitive always + adv/prep) to exist in a particular place or continue in a particular direction
(+ along/through etc): The road runs along a valley. COLOUR/PAINT
30 (I) if colour runs, it spreads from one area of cloth to another, when the cloth is wet: The colour ran when I washed your red shirt, and now all your socks are pink!
31 (I) if paint runs, it moves onto an area where you did not intend it to go
32 be running short (of sth) to have very little of something left: I'm running short of cash - do you think you could lend me some?
33 time is running short used to say that there is little time left: Time was already running short.
34 be running low (on sth) to have very little left of something that you normally keep a supply of: We're running low on fuel again.
35 run dry if a river or well (=hole in the ground for getting water) runs dry, there is no water left: The drought was so severe that even the well ran dry.
36 run wild to behave in an uncontrolled way: Since their mother left, those children have been running wild.
37 run rife to spread quickly in an uncontrolled way: Disease is running rife in the shanty towns.
38 run riot
a) if people run riot, they start to behave in a violent or uncontrolled way: Angry demonstrators ran riot through the town.
b) if feelings run riot, they increase quickly in a way that you cannot control: Let your imagination run riot.
39 run a check/test on to arrange for something or someone to be checked or tested: A check had to be run on all participants, for security reasons. | We'd better run a test on all the equipment before we begin.
40 run an errand
a) to go to a shop, office etc in order to buy, do, or get something for someone else: a boy running errands for his mother
b) AmE to go to a shop, office etc to buy or get something that you need: I have a few errands to run downtown.
41 IN AN ELECTION (I) to try to be elected in an election; stand 1 (41)
(+ for): Bob Dole's running for President. (+ against): The Democrats chose Mondale to run against Reagan.
42 HOLE IN CLOTHES (I) if a hole in tights, stockings etc runs, it gets bigger in a straight line
43 run drugs/guns to bring drugs or guns into a country illegally in order to sell them
—see also: drug runner, gun­running
44 run a story/feature/article to print a story etc in a newspaper or magazine: The editor decided at the last minute not to run the story.
45 run in the family if something such as a quality, disease, or skill runs in the family, many people in that family have it: Karen's very good at music too - it runs in the family.
46 run a temperature/fever to have a body temperature that is higher than normal, because you are ill: She's running a temperature of a 102.
47 run a mile informal to try very hard to avoid a situation, person, or place, because you find them frightening or embarrassing: She's so shy that if a man ever spoke to her I think she'd run a mile!
48 be running late to be doing everything later than planned or expected: They were running late, so I didn't get interviewed until nearly o'clock.
49 be running scared to have become worried about the power of an enemy or opponent: Their new software has the competition running scared.
50 come running
a) informal to respond in a very eager way when someone asks or tells you to do something: He thinks he's only got to crook his finger and I'll come running.
b) especially spoken to ask someone for help, advice, or sympathy when you have a problem
(+ to): Well I warned you, so don't come running to me when it all goes wrong!
51 run your eyes over informal to look quickly at something: Could you run your eyes over my report before I turn it in?
52 run that by me again spoken used to ask someone to explain something again, because you did not completely understand
—see also: running 1, run amok amok, make your blood run cold blood 1 (5), run counter to sth counter 3, cut and run cut 1 (30), run deep deep 1 (5), run sb/sth to earth earth 1 (13), run to fat fat 2 (6), run the gauntlet gauntlet (5), run sb to ground ground 1 (22), run rings around ring 1 (8), run to seed seed 1 (3) run across sb/sth phrasal verb (T) to meet or find someone or something by chance: I ran across an old friend last week. run after sb/sth phrasal verb (T)
1 to chase someone or something: Her dog was running after a rabbit.
2 informal to try to get someone's attention, especially because you are sexually attracted to them
3 spoken to do many small jobs for someone, like a servant: I can't keep running after you all day!
run around phrasal verb (I)
1 to run in an area, without a definite direction or purpose: The children were running around in the garden.
2 run around with sb to spend a lot of time with someone, especially in a way that other people disapprove of: Is it true that she's been running around with an older man?
3 informal to be very busy doing many small jobs: At fifty, I didn't want to be running around making bottles and changing diapers.
—see also: run­around run away phrasal verb (I)
1 to leave a place, especially secretly, in order to escape from someone or something
(+ from): Toby ran away from home at the age of 14. | They ran away together to get married. —see also: runaway 2
2 to try to avoid a problem or difficult situation because it is unpleasant or embarrassing: You've got to stop running away, and learn to face your problems.
run away with sb/sth phrasal verb (I)
1 run away with you if your feelings, ideas etc run away with you, they start to control how you behave because you can no longer think in a sensible way: Don't let your imagination run away with you!
2 to leave a place secretly or illegally with someone else: He ran away with the boss's wife.
3 run away with the idea/impression that spoken to think that something is true when it is not: Don't run away with the idea that this is going to be easy!
4 informal to win a competition or sports game very easily: The Reds ran away with the championship.
5 to steal something: They found that the treasurer had run away with the proceeds.
run down phrasal verb
1 (transitive run someone/something down) to drive into a person or animal and kill or injure them: Their daughter was run down by a car just outside their house.
2 (transitive run someone/something down) informal to say things that are rude, unpleasant, or unfair about someone or something: Paula's jealous of you - that's why she keeps running you down. | Don't run yourself down!
3 (I) if a clock, machine, battery etc runs down, it has no more power and stops working
4 (transitive run something down) to let a company, organization etc gradually become smaller or stop working: The coal industry is being slowly run down.
5 (transitive run someone/something down) to find someone or something after searching for a long time: I finally ran him down at his new office in Glendale.
—see also: rundown, run­down run sb/sth in phrasal verb (T)
1 old-fashioned if the police run a criminal in, they catch them; arrest 1 (1)
2 if you run in a new car, you drive it slowly and carefully at first
run into sb/sth phrasal verb (T)
1 to hit someone or something with a car or other vehicle: His car skidded and ran into a lamp-post.
2 informal to meet someone by chance: Guess who I ran into in town today!
3 run into difficulties/problems/debt etc to start to experience difficulties: After a promising start, the company ran into trouble.
4 run into hundreds/thousands etc to reach an amount of several hundred, several thousand etc: By now they had debts running into thousands of pounds.
5 if something such as a word, colour etc runs into another word, colour etc, it joins it or mixes with it so that it is difficult to separate them
6 run sth into the ground
a) to use something so much that you destroy it: We ran that Chevrolet right into the ground.
b) to talk about a subject so much that there is nothing more left to say
run off phrasal verb
1 (I) 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 (transitive run something off) to quickly print several copies of something: Shall I run off some more of those notices for you on the photocopier?
3 (transitive run something off) to write a speech, poem, piece of music etc quickly and easily: He could run off a comedy monologue in half an hour.
4 be run off your feet to be so busy that you do not have time to stop or rest
5 run off at the mouth AmE informal to talk too much
6 (transitive run something off) to get rid of weight by running: I'm trying to run off some of my excess fat!
run off with sb/sth phrasal verb (T) informal
1 to go away somewhere with someone, because you are having a sexual relationship that people do not approve of: Liz shocked us all by running off with a married man.
2 to take something without permission: Then I found that he had run off with all my savings.
run on phrasal verb (I) to continue happening for longer than expected or planned: The lecture ran on until 11 o'clock. run out phrasal verb
1 (I) to use all of something and not have any of it left
(+ of): The truck's run out of gas again.
2 (I) if food, money etc runs out, there is none left: Our supplies soon ran out. | My patience was running out.
3 (I) if an agreement, official document etc runs out, it reaches the end of the period when it is officially allowed to continue; expire (1): My contract runs out in September.
4 run out on to leave someone, when you should not: He ran out on his second wife two years later.
5 run out of steam informal also run out of gas AmE to have no energy or eagerness left for something that you are trying to do: The whole team seemed to have run out of gas.
6 run sb out of town old-fashioned to force someone to leave a place, because they have done something wrong
7 (transitive run someone out) to end a player's innings in cricket (2) by hitting the stumps (stump1 (4)) with the ball while they are running
run over phrasal verb
1 (transitive run someone/something over) to hit someone or something with a car or other vehicle, and drive over them: He was run over by a bus and killed.
2 (transitive run over something) to explain or practise something again: Could we just run over the section on verbs again?
3 (transitive run over something) to think about a series of events, possibilities etc: I ran over the options in my mind.
4 (I) also run over time to continue past the arranged time: The meeting ran over, and I was late for lunch.
5 (I) if a container runs over, there is so much liquid inside that some flows out; overflow
run through phrasal verb (T)
1 (run through something) to repeat something so that you remember it or get better at it: Let's run through the first scene again.
2 (run through something) to read, look at, or explain something quickly: I'll just run through the figures with you.
3 (run through something) to be present in many parts of something or continue through it, for example in an artist's work or in a society: This theme runs through the whole book. | a fundamental problem running right through our society
4 (run someone through) literary to push a sword completely through someone
—see also: run­through run to sth phrasal verb (T)
1 to reach a particular amount: The damages awarded by the court could easily run to one billion pounds.
2 BrE to be enough money to pay for something, or have enough money for it: My wages won't run to a new car.
run sth up phrasal verb (T)
1 run up a bill/expenses/debts to use a lot of something or borrow a lot of money, so that you will have to pay a lot of money: She ran up an enormous phone bill.
2 to make something, especially clothes, very quickly: I ran this dress up in a single evening.
3 to raise a flag on a pole
run up against sth/sb phrasal verb (T) to have to deal with unexpected problems or a difficult opponent: We ran up against some unexpected opposition. 2 noun
1 ON FOOT (C) a period of time spent running, or a distance that you run: a 5-mile run | go for a run (=for exercise or pleasure): She usually goes for a run before breakfast. | break into a run (=start running): He was still following me, and in a panic I broke into a run. | at a run (=running): Sarah left the house at a run.
2 be on the run
a) to be trying to escape or hide, especially from the police: A dangerous criminal is on the run in the bay area of the city.
b) if an army or an opponent is on the run, they may soon be defeated
3 make a run for it to suddenly start running, in order to escape: One of the prisoners made a run for it.
4 in the long run later in the future, not immediately: The less you rely on painkillers now, the better it will be for your health in the long run.
5 in the short run in the near future: Economies like these save money in the short run, but in the end you'll be no better off.
6 a run of good/bad luck several lucky or unlucky things happening quickly after each other: Losing my job was the start of a run of bad luck that year.
7 a run of failures/wins/strikes etc a series of failures, wins etc: The company has had a run of spectacularly successful years.
8 a run on a situation in which lots of people suddenly buy a particular product: There's been a big run on ice-cream during this hot weather.
9 have the run of to be allowed to use a place when and how you want: I had the run of the house for the afternoon.
10 in the normal run of events used when saying what usually happens: In the normal run of events, I would never have gone there.
11 have a (good) run for your money informal if you have a good run for your money, you have succeeded in doing something for an unusually long time or you have been unusually successful: He lived to be 92, so I think he had a good run for his money.
12 give sb a good run for their money to play well in a competition or sports game, so that your opponent has to use all their skill and effort to defeat you: They beat us, but we certainly gave them a good run for their money.
13 ILLNESS the runs informal diarrhoea (=an illness that makes you need to go to the toilet often)
14 PLAY/FILM (C) 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.
15 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.
b) informal a short journey in a car, for pleasure: Let's take the car out for a run.
16 FOR ANIMALS (C) an enclosed area where animals such as chickens or rabbits are kept
17 SPORT (C) a point won in cricket or baseball
18 SKI-ING (C) a sloping area of land that you can ski down: They don't let beginners go on the higher runs.
19 IN CLOTHES AmE (C) a line of torn stitches in tights, stockings etc; ladder 1 (3) BrE
20 BANK (singular) an occasion when lots of people all take their money out of a bank at the same time
21 run on the dollar/pound etc a situation in which a lot of people sell dollars etc and the value goes down
22 MUSIC (C) a set of notes played or sung quickly up or down a scale in a piece of music
23 CARD GAMES (C) a set of cards with numbers in a series, held by one player
—see also: dry run, dummy run, fun run, milk run, trial run

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.


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