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verb British English pronunciation: run /rʌn/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participlerunning
past tenseran
past participlerun
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to move quickly to a place using your legs and feet

    You'll have to run if you want to catch the bus.

    run across/into/down etc:

    A cat ran across the road in front of me.

    run to:

    I ran to the door and opened it.

    run for cover/shelter:

    We ran for shelter as soon as the rain started.

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to run in a race

      He's running the 100m.

      run in:

      I'd love to run in the London Marathon.

    2. b.
      [transitive] [usually passive] to have a race in a particular place or at a particular time

      The race will be run at 3 pm.

    3. c.
      [transitive] to run a particular distance

      How quickly can you run a mile?

  2. 2
    [transitive] to control and organize something such as a business, organization, or event

    Sue's been running a mail-order business for ten years.

    run a campaign:

    He was the man who ran Clinton's election campaign.

    1. a.
      to organize and provide something such as a service or course

      The shelter is run entirely by volunteers.

      The bus company runs a regular airport shuttle service.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] if a machine or engine runs, or if you run it, it is working

    Don't leave the car engine running.

    I ran the dishwasher even though it wasn't full.

    run on petrol/electricity etc:

    Does your car run on petrol or diesel?

    run off the mains (=use the electricity supply):

    My laptop can run off the mains or a battery.

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] computing to start or to use a computer program

      Try running the program again and see if it works.

      run on:

      The software will run on any PC.

      run under:

      a spreadsheet package that runs under Windows or Unix

    2. b.
      [transitive] to own and use a motor vehicle

      expenses involved in running a car

  4. 4
    [intransitive] if a liquid runs somewhere, it flows there
    run down/from etc:

    Tears were running down his face.

    Blood ran from a wound in her leg.

    1. a.
      [intransitive] if a river runs somewhere, it flows there
      run into/to/from etc:

      The Rhine runs into the North Sea.

    2. b.
      [intransitive/transitive] if a tap runs, or if you run it, water comes out of it
    3. c.
      [intransitive] if something is running with a liquid, the liquid is flowing down it
      run with:

      His back was running with sweat.

    4. d.
      [transitive] to fill a bath or other container with water from a tap

      I ran a sink full of cold water.

      run (someone) a bath:

      Dad offered to run me a bath.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] if a play, film, or television programme runs, it continues to be performed or shown

    a soap opera that has been running for many years

    How long did the film run for?

    1. a.
      if an official agreement or document runs until a particular time, you can continue to use it until that date

      The contract only has another couple of months to run.

  6. 6
    [intransitive] if a bus, train etc runs, it travels somewhere at regular times

    The train only runs at weekends.

    run on time (=arrive and leave at the right time):

    Do the buses run on time?

    be running 10 minutes/two hours etc late:

    The train was running twenty minutes late.

    1. a.
      [transitive] informal to take someone somewhere in your car
      run someone to/into:

      John kindly offered to run me into town.

      run someone there/home/back etc:

      I'll run you there, it's no trouble.

    2. b.
      [intransitive] if a vehicle runs somewhere, it moves there because the driver is not controlling it properly
      run into/down/through etc:

      The truck ran down the hill and into a shop window.

  7. 7
    [intransitive] [usually progressive] to reach a particular amount or rate

    Ticket prices were running anywhere from £50 to £200.

    run at:

    Inflation is running at 3%.

  8. 8
    [transitive] to move or rub something along something else
    run something through/across/down something:

    Fred ran his fingers gently through her hair.

    In a fit of jealousy, he ran a key down the side of Greg's car.

  9. 9
    [intransitive] if something such as a road or wall runs somewhere, it exists in that place
    run along/around/through etc:

    There was a path running through the middle of the forest.

    run parallel to something:

    A mountain range runs parallel to the western border.

  10. 10
    [transitive] to put something such as a wire or thread somewhere
    run something under/behind/through etc something:

    You could run the cable behind the desk.

  11. 11
    [intransitive] if a feeling runs through you, you experience it

    A chill ran through me (=I suddenly felt frightened).

    1. a.
      to have a particular thought

      Our thoughts seem to run along the same lines (=we think the same).

      run to:

      His thoughts ran to the first time he had met Matilda.

      something runs through your mind/head (=you have a particular thought or idea):

      The thought that she might be lying ran through my mind.

  12. 13
    [intransitive] to try to be elected to an official job or position

    How many candidates are running?

    run for:

    Jackson announced his intention to run for president.

    run against:

    There will be three candidates running against her.

  13. 15
    [transitive] to bring someone or something illegally into a country

    We know of several groups who are running guns into the country.

  14. 16
    [intransitive] to grow in a particular direction
    run up/over:

    Ivy runs up the walls of the house.

  15. 17
    [intransitive] to move smoothly

    The curtains run on these tracks.

  16. 18
    [intransitive] if a story, argument etc runs in a particular way, this is what happens or what someone says

    The text ran something like this: 'Don't mess with our business!'


This is the British English definition of run. View American English definition of run