run - definition and synonyms


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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.

     Synonyms and related words
    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.

       Synonyms and related words
    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?

       Synonyms and related words
  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.

  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
  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.

     Synonyms and related words
  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. 14
    [intransitive] if a piece of clothing or a colour runs, the colour spreads when you wash it
    1. a.
      if something such as paint or ink runs, it spreads to where it should not be

      Crying had made her mascara run.

    2. b.
      if something such as butter runs, it becomes liquid and spreads because it is warm
  14. 15
    [transitive] to bring someone or something illegally into a country

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

  15. 16
    [intransitive] to grow in a particular direction
    run up/over:

    Ivy runs up the walls of the house.

     Synonyms and related words
  16. 17
    [intransitive] to move smoothly

    The curtains run on these tracks.

  17. 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!’

  18. 19
    [intransitive] if tights or stockings run, a hole in them becomes longer