Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage


Language: Old English
Origin: rinnan


1 verb
run1 S1 W1 past tense ran, past participle run, present participle running

move quickly using your legs

a) [intransitive] to move very quickly, by moving your legs more quickly than when you walk
run down/up/to/towards etc
I ran down the stairs as fast as I could.
He was running towards the door.
She turned and ran away.
The boys ran off into the crowd.
run to do something
Several people ran to help her when she fell.
The children came running out of the house.
Women ran screaming, with children in their arms.
Jane struggled free and ran for her life (=ran in order to avoid being killed).
Hurry! Run for it (=run as quickly as possible in order to escape)!
He picked up the child and ran like hell. not polite (=ran very quickly, especially in order to escape)
b) [transitive] to run a particular distance:
Firefighters are to run 500km to raise money for a children's charity.
He ran the length of the corridor.


a) [intransitive and transitive]DSO to run in a race:
I'd never run a marathon before.
run in
Murray has said she will consider running in the 3000 metres.
b) [transitive usually passive]DSO if a race is run at a particular time or in a particular place, it happens at that time or in that place:
The Derby will be run at 3 o'clock.

organize/be in charge of

[transitive] to organize or be in charge of an activity, business, organization, or country:
For a while, she ran a restaurant in Boston.
Many people don't care who runs the country.
Courses are currently being run in London and Edinburgh.
Many people belong to a pension scheme run by their employers.
well/badly run
The hotel is well-run and extremely popular.
a state-run (=controlled by the government) television station
see usage note control2

do something/go somewhere quickly

[intransitive] to do something or go somewhere quickly:
Run and ask your mother where she's put the keys.
run to
I need to run to the store for some more milk.

buses/trains etc

a) TT [intransitive] if a bus, train etc service runs, it takes people from one place to another at fixed times:
The buses don't run on Sundays.
run to
The number 61 bus runs to the city centre.
b) [transitive]TT if a company or other organization runs a bus, train etc service, they make it operate:
They're running special trains to and from the exhibition.


a) [intransitive] if a computer program runs, it operates
run on
The software will run on any PC.
b) [transitive] if you run a program, you make it operate:
The RS8 system runs both Unix and MPX-32.


a) [intransitive] if a machine or engine runs, it operates:
She got out of the car and left the engine running.
run on electricity/gas/petrol etc (=get its power from electricity etc)
Most cars run on unleaded fuel.
run off something (=use something for power)
It runs off batteries.
b) [transitive] if you run a machine or engine, you make it operate:
You shouldn't keep the engine running when the car is standing still.
I often run the washing machine more than once a day.


a) [intransitive usually progressive] if a tape is running, it is recording:
She didn't realize the tape was running as she spoke.
b) [transitive] if you run a tape, you make it move backwards or forwards:
Run the tape back to the beginning.


a) [transitive] to print something in a newspaper or magazine, or broadcast something on television:
The company is running a series of advertisements in national newspapers.
A local TV station ran her story.
b) [intransitive] if a program runs on television, it is shown. If a story runs in a newspaper or magazine, it is printed:
The series ran for 20 episodes and was extremely popular.
Conan Doyle's stories ran in 'The Strand' magazine.

fast/out of control

[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to move too fast or in an uncontrolled way:
Her car ran off the road and into a tree.
The truck ran out of control and hit a house.

use a vehicle

[transitive] especially British EnglishTTC to own and use a vehicle:
I can't afford to run a car.
A bicycle is relatively cheap to buy and run.

take somebody in your car

[transitive always + adverb/preposition] informal to take someone somewhere in your car [= drive]:
Shall I run you home?
run somebody to something
Let me run you to the station.

in an election

[intransitive] especially American EnglishPPV to try to be elected in an election [= stand British English]
run for
Salinas is running for a second term as President.
an attempt to encourage more women to run for office
run against
Feinstein will win if she runs against Lungren.

something long

[intransitive,transitive always + adverb/preposition]TTR if something long such as a road or wire runs in a particular direction, that is its position, or that is where you put it:
The road runs along a valley.
Developers want to run a road right through his farm.
Run the cables under the carpet.
The Sierra mountain range runs the length of the north west coast of Majorca.

move something on a surface

[transitive always + adverb/preposition] to move something lightly along a surface:
Charles ran his fingers through her hair.
Run the scanner over the barcodes.


[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to flow in a particular direction or place:
Tears started to run down her cheeks.
Water was running off the roof.


[intransitive and transitive] if a tap is running, water is coming out of it, or if you run a tap, you make water come out of it:
Did you leave the tap running?
He ran the tap until the water was really hot.

run a bath

to fill a bath with water:
I could hear her running a bath upstairs.
run somebody a bath
Could you run me a nice hot bath while I finish my meal?

somebody's nose

[intransitive]HBH if someone's nose is running, liquid is flowing out of it

official papers

[intransitive] if something runs for a particular length of time, it can officially be used for that time:
The contract runs for a year.
My car insurance only has another month to run.


[intransitive]APTAMF to continue being performed regularly in one place:
The play ran for two years.


[intransitive] to happen in a particular way or at a particular time:
Andy kept things running smoothly (=happening in the way they should) while I was away.
He was given a further three month prison sentence to run concurrently.
The course runs over a three year period.


[intransitive] to be at a particular level, amount, or price
run at
Inflation was running at 5%.
run to
The cost of repairing the damage could run to $5000.

story/account etc

[intransitive and transitive] if a story, discussion etc runs in a particular way, it has those particular words or events:
The story runs that someone offered Lynch a further $500.
'President's marriage really over' ran the headline in a national newspaper.

run its course

if something runs its course, it continues in the way you expect until it has finished:
Recession in the country has run its course and left an aftermath of uncertainty.

something will run and run

British English if a subject, discussion, event etc will run and run, people will continue to be interested in it for a long time:
This a story that will run and run.


[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] if a feeling runs through you, or a thought runs through your mind, you feel it or think it quickly
run through/down
A feeling of excitement ran through her body as they touched.
The same thought kept running through his mind.
A cold shiver ran down my back.
I felt a sharp pain run down my leg.

run high

if feelings run high, people are very angry, upset, excited etc:
Tension ran high and fights broke out among the crowd.
Feelings have been running high in the town, following the murder of a young girl.

run somebody's life

informal to keep telling someone what they should do all the time, in a way that annoys them:
Don't try to run my life!

run for cover

a) to run towards a place where you will be safe, especially to avoid bullets:
He was shot in the leg as he ran for cover.
b) to try to protect yourself from a bad situation or from being criticized:
His success at backing winning horses has had the bookmakers running for cover.

colour in clothes

[intransitive] if colour runs, it spreads from one piece of clothing or one area of cloth to another when the clothes are wet:
The T-shirt ran and made all my other clothes pink.


[intransitive] if paint runs, it moves onto an area where you did not intend it to go

run a check/test/experiment etc

to arrange for someone or something to be checked or tested
run a check/test/experiment etc on
Ask your doctor to run a test on your blood sugar levels.

hole in clothes

[intransitive]DCC if a hole in tights or stockings runs, it gets bigger in a straight line

run drugs/guns

SCC to bring drugs or guns into a country illegally in order to sell them drug runner, gun-running

run in the family

SSF if something such as a quality, disease, or skill runs in the family, many people in that family have it:
Diabetes appears to run in families.

run a temperature/fever

MI to have a body temperature that is higher than normal, because you are ill

run a mile

informal to try very hard to avoid a particular situation or person because you do not want to deal with them:
If someone asked me to marry them, I'd probably run a mile.

run late/early/on time

to arrive, go somewhere, or do something late, early, or at the right time:
I'm running late, so I'll talk to you later.
If the train runs on time, we'll be there by ten.

be running scared

to feel worried because someone who you are competing against is becoming very successful or powerful:
The party are running scared.

come running

a) informal to react in a very eager way when someone asks or tells you to do something:
He thinks he's only got to look at me and I'll come running.
b) especially spoken to ask someone for help, advice, or sympathy when you have a problem
come running to
Well I warned you, so don't come running to me when it all goes wrong!

run your eyes over/along etc something

to look quickly at something:
He ran his eyes along the books on the shelf.

run before you can walk

to try to do something difficult before you have learned the basic skills you need:
A lot of language students want to run before they can walk.

run a (red) light

informal to drive quickly through a red traffic light instead of stopping

➔ cut and run

at cut1 (38)

➔ be/run/go counter to something

at counter3

➔ run deep

at deep2 (4)

➔ run dry

at dry1 (4)

➔ run low

at low1 (4)

➔ run somebody ragged

at ragged (5)

➔ run rings around somebody

at ring1 (8)

➔ run riot

at riot1 (2)

➔ be running short

at short2 (2)

➔ run somebody/something to earth

at earth1 (14)

➔ run to fat

at fat2 (6)

➔ run somebody/something to ground

at ground1 (19)

➔ run to seed

at seed1 (4)

➔ run wild

at wild2 (1)

➔ be up and running

at up1 (22)
for exercise: jog

very quickly because you are in a hurry: dash, tear, sprint

run across somebody/something

phrasal verb
to meet someone or find something by chance:
I ran across him at a conference in Milan.
I ran across some old love letters while I was clearing out a cupboard.

run after somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to chase someone or something:
He ran after her, calling her name.
2 informal to try to start a sexual relationship with someone:
He's always running after younger women.
3 spoken to do a lot of things for someone else as though you were their servant:
I can't keep running after you all day!

run along

phrasal verb
used to tell a child to leave, or to tell someone that you must leave:
Run along now! I've got work to finish.
Oh, it's late. I'd better be running along.

run around

phrasal verb
1 to run in an area while you are playing:
The children were running around in the garden.
2 informal to be very busy doing many small jobs:
Maria was running around trying to get the house tidy.
We were all running around like headless chickens (=trying to do a lot of things, in an anxious or disorganized way).

run around after somebody

phrasal verb
to do a lot of things for someone else as though you were their servant:
I've spent all day running around after the kids.

run around with somebody

phrasal verb
to spend a lot of time with someone, especially someone that other people disapprove of:
He started running around with a gang of teenagers.

run away

phrasal verb
1 to leave a place, especially secretly, in order to escape from someone or something
run away from
Toby ran away from home at the age of 14.
2 to try to avoid dealing with a problem or difficult situation
run away from
You can't just run away from your responsibilities.
3 to secretly go away with someone in order to marry them or live with them:
They ran away together to get married.

run away with somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to secretly go away with someone in order to marry them or live with them - usually used to show disapproval:
His wife has run away with another man.

run away with you

if your feelings, ideas etc run away with you, they start to control how you behave:
Don't let your imagination run away with you!

your tongue runs away with you

if your tongue runs away with you, you say something that you did not intend to say

run away with the idea/impression (that)

spoken to think that something is true when it is not:
Don't run away with the impression that he doesn't care.
5 informalDS to win a competition or sports game very easily:
The Reds ran away with the championship.

run something by/past somebody

phrasal verb
1 to tell someone something so that they can give you their opinion:
Let me run some figures by you.
I just wanted to run it past you and see what you thought.

run that by me again

spoken used to ask someone to repeat what they have just said because you did not completely understand it

run down

phrasal verb

run somebody/something ↔ down

TT to drive into a person or animal and kill or injure them:
Their daughter was run down by a car.

run somebody/something ↔ down

informal to criticize someone or something in a way that is unfair:
There's a lot of good things about homeopathic treatment. I'm certainly not running it down.
3TMC if a clock, machine, battery etc runs down, it has no more power and stops working
4 to make a company, organization etc gradually reduce in size, especially in order to close it in the future, or to gradually reduce in size
run something ↔ down
Many smaller local hospitals are being run down.
The business had been running down for a long time.
5 if a supply of something runs down, or if you run it down, there gradually becomes less of it:
Crude oil reserves are running down.
run something ↔ down
Electricity generating companies are running down stocks and cutting purchases.

run down something

to read a list of people or things:
Let me just run down the list of people who've been invited.

run somebody/something down

to find someone or something after searching for a long time:
I finally ran him down at his new office in Glendale.

run somebody/something ↔ in

phrasal verb
1TTC to drive a new car slowly and carefully for a period of time so you do not damage its engine
2 old-fashionedSCP if the police run a criminal in, they catch him or her

run into somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to start to experience a difficult or unpleasant situation:
He ran into criticism after remarks he made in a television interview.
run into trouble/problems/difficulties
The business ran into financial difficulties almost immediately.

run into hundreds/thousands etc

to reach an amount of several hundred, several thousand etc:
The cost of repairing the damage could run into millions.
The list ran into hundreds of pages.
3TT to hit someone or something with a vehicle [= crash into]:
He ran into the back of another car.
4 informal to meet someone by chance:
Guess who I ran into in town today!

➔ run yourself into the ground

at ground1 (13)

run off

phrasal verb
1 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.

run something ↔ off

TC to quickly print several copies of something:
I'll run off a few more copies before the meeting.

run somebody off something

to force someone to leave a place:
Someone tried to run me off the road.
Smith had run them off his property with a rifle.

run something ↔ off

A to write a speech, poem, piece of music etc quickly and easily:
He could run off a five-page essay in an hour.

run off at the mouth

American English informal to talk too much

run something ↔ off

DLO to get rid of weight by running:
I'm trying to run off some of my excess fat!

run off with somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to secretly go away with someone in order to marry them or live with them - used to show disapproval:
Liz shocked us all by running off with a married man.
2SCC to steal something and go away:
a con-man who makes a habit of running off with people's savings

run on

phrasal verb
to continue happening for longer than expected or planned:
These things always run on longer than people imagine.

run out

phrasal verb
a) to use all of something and not have any more left:
I've got money you can borrow if you run out.
run out of
They ran out of money and had to abandon the project.
He'd run out of ideas.
b) if something is running out, there will soon be none left:
We must act now because time is running out.
My patience was running out.
His luck had run out (=there was none left).
2 if an agreement, official document etc runs out, the period for which it is legal or has an effect ends [= expire]:
My contract runs out in September.

run out of steam

informal also run out of gas American English to have no more energy or no longer be interested in what you are doing:
The team seemed to have run out of gas.

run somebody out of town

old-fashioned to force someone to leave a place, because they have done something wrong

run somebody ↔ out

DSC to end a player's innings in the game of cricket by hitting the stumps with the ball while they are running

run out on somebody

phrasal verb
to leave someone when they are in a difficult situation - used to show disapproval:
He ran out on her when she became pregnant.

run over

phrasal verb

run somebody/something ↔ over

TT to hit someone or something with a vehicle, and drive over them:
He was run over and killed by a bus.
She got run over outside the school.

run over something

to think about something:
Mark's mind raced, running over all the possibilities.

run over something

to explain or practise something quickly:
I'll just run over the main points again.

run over (something)

to continue happening for longer than planned:
The meeting ran over.
The talks have run over the 15 November deadline.
5 if a container runs over, there is so much liquid inside that some flows out [= overflow]

run something past somebody

phrasal verb
to run something by someone

run round

phrasal verb
to run around

run through

phrasal verb

run through something

to repeat something in order to practise it or make sure it is correct:
Let's run through the first scene again.

run through something

to read, look at, or explain something quickly:
Briefly, she ran through details of the morning's events.

run through something

if a quality, feature etc runs through something, it is present in all of that thing:
This theme runs through the whole book.

run somebody through

literary to push a sword completely through someone

run to somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to reach a particular amount:
The cost of repairing the damage could run to $1 million.
The treaty ran to 248 pages.
2 [usually in negatives] British English to be or have enough money to pay for something:
Our budget won't run to replacing all the computers.
3 to ask someone to help or protect you:
You can't keep running to your parents every time you have a problem.

somebody's taste runs to something

if someone's taste runs to something, that is what they like:
His taste ran to action movies and thrillers.

run up something

phrasal verb

run up a debt/bill etc

to use so much of something, or borrow so much money, that you owe a lot of money:
She ran up an enormous phone bill.
2 to achieve a particular score or position in a game or competition:
He quickly ran up a big lead in the polls.

run something ↔ up

to make something, especially clothes, very quickly:
She can run up a dress in an evening.

run something ↔ up

to raise a flag on a pole

run up against something/somebody

phrasal verb
to have to deal with unexpected problems or a difficult opponent:
The museum has run up against opposition to its proposals.

run with something

phrasal verb
to be covered with a liquid that is flowing down:
His face was running with blood.

control, manage, run, be in charge
To control something means to have the power to make it work in the way that you want, usually without anyone else being able to stop you The army controls the north of the country. With 75% of the shares, he effectively controls the company.To manage something means to organize the way that it works, often with responsibility for other people's work She manages a team of software developers. David managed a small bookstore.To run something such as a business means to organize it and take the important decisions about how it works, perhaps as the owner of the business I run my own cleaning business. Louise will be running the project.To be in charge means to have responsibility for a situation or activity and decide what happens in it When the Director is away, her deputy is in charge. He's in charge of marketing.WORD CHOICE: control, check, inspect, examine, test, monitor!! Do not use control to mean 'check' or 'test'. Use one of the following verbs:check or inspect means to look at something carefully to see if it is correct, safe, or legal Your passports will be checked on arrival. Safety officers inspected the building.examine means to look at something very carefully in order to find out more about it Experts who examined the letter declared it a fake.test means to carry out an experiment or process in order to find out what qualities something has They test blood samples for drugs. Every car is tested to ensure that it meets high safety standards.monitor means to keep checking or testing something over a period of time to see if it changes Her heart rate is being monitored. This device monitors room temperature and humidity.See also control
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