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[ruhn-uh-bout] /ˈrʌn əˌbaʊt/
a small, light automobile or other vehicle, usually with an open top; roadster.
a small pleasure motorboat.
a person who roves around from place to place or group to group.
Origin of runabout
First recorded in 1540-50; noun use of verb phrase run about Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for runabout
Historical Examples
  • I'll meet you in the runabout and we can go out to the Beach Inn for dinner.

    Blue-grass and Broadway Maria Thompson Daviess
  • Harry and his drag have taken the place of Dan and his runabout.

    'Charge It' Irving Bacheller
  • Merrick had descended from the runabout and gone out of the cave.

    The Rover Boys on the Farm Arthur M. Winfield (AKA Edward Stratemeyer)
  • And then he and his brothers wheeled it to one side, so the runabout could pass.

    The Rover Boys in the Air

    Edward Stratemeyer
  • Roger drove his chum down to the railroad station in the runabout.

    Dave Porter in the Gold Fields Edward Stratemeyer
  • "I've been watching for you," called Mignon, as Mary stepped from the runabout.

    Marjorie Dean Pauline Lester
  • I walked home across the links and left the runabout at the club.

    From the Car Behind

    Eleanor M. Ingram
  • In the morning Dick went in the runabout and got the bundle of papers from Brooke.

    The Hilltop Boys Cyril Burleigh
  • He is going to let me use the runabout when I visit the schools.

    The Brown Mouse Herbert Quick
  • I don't know, though—maybe the runabout—no, the tire's loose.

    In The Valley Of The Shadow Josephine Daskam
British Dictionary definitions for runabout


a small car, esp one for use in a town
a light aircraft
a light motorboat
a person who moves about constantly or busily
(intransitive, adverb) to move busily from place to place
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for runabout

1540s, in reference to persons, from run (v.) + about (adv.). From 1890 as a small, light type of carriage; later extended to motor cars.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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