Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

run - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb run pronunciation in American English /rʌn/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlerunning
past tenseran
past participlerun
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  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 school bus.
    run across/into/down etc.: A cat ran across the road in front of me.
    run for cover/shelter: We ran for shelter as soon as the rain started.
    run to: I ran to the door and opened it.
    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to run in a race
      He’s running the hundred yard dash.
      run in: I’d love to run in the Boston 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 p.m.
    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 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 class
      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 engine running.
    I ran the dishwasher even though it wasn’t full.
    run on gas/electricity etc.: Does your car run on premium or unleaded?
    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
  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 Mississippi runs into the Gulf of Mexico.
    2. b.
      [intransitive/transitive] if a faucet 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 faucet
      I ran a sink full of cold water.
      run a bath: Dad offered to run a bath for me.
  5. 5
    [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 in next month’s elections.
  6. 6
    [intransitive] if a bus, train, etc. runs, it travels somewhere at regular times
    The train only runs on the weekend.
    run on time (=arrive and leave at the right time): The trains never seem to run on time.
    be running 10 minutes/two hours etc. late: The shuttle 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 store window.
  7. 7
    [intransitive] if a play, movie, or television program runs, it continues to be performed or shown
    a soap opera that has been running for many years
    How long did the movie run for?
  8. 8
    [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%.
  9. 9
    [transitive] to move or rub something along something else
    In a fit of jealousy, he ran a key down the side of Greg’s car.
    run something through/across/down something: Fred ran his fingers gently through her hair.
  10. 10
    [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.
  11. 11
    [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.
  12. 12
    [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.
  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!”


a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

troll factory

a company that pays its employees to write online comments in favour or against somebody or something posing as ordinary Internet users

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog