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[ruhn-l] /ˈrʌn l/
a small stream; brook; rivulet.
a small channel, as for water.
Also, runlet
[ruhn-lit] /ˈrʌn lɪt/ (Show IPA)
Origin of runnel
1570-80; run (noun) + -el diminutive suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for runnel
Historical Examples
  • Just before him a runnel of water is gliding, and he bends his head to drink.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 7 Charles H. Sylvester
  • He had a narrow thread of solid path, and he forced me into a runnel.

  • When he came again it was on a dark day in November, and every runnel of the fens was swollen.

    The Path of the King John Buchan
  • On our left was the gorge, down which tumbled the runnel of water which I have before mentioned.

    The Bible in Spain George Borrow
  • I went up the field with the lane on my right, down which ran a runnel of water, from which doubtless the house derived its name.

    Wild Wales George Borrow
  • The rock looked exactly like a huge whale lying on its side, with its back turned towards the runnel.

    Wild Wales George Borrow
  • Thus it is possible that a runnel of the blood of "le grand monarque" tripped through Burton's veins.

  • It took me the whole day to reach the patch,—which I found indeed a forest—but not a rudiment of brook or runnel had I crossed!

    Lilith George MacDonald
  • There are little groves of bamboo and chestnut and willow; and a runnel of water is somewhere—I can hear it.

  • Peebles had disappeared; Dake lay in his rags on the ground; runnel rocked slowly, like a pendulum, in his ceaseless pain.

    The Happy End Joseph Hergesheimer
British Dictionary definitions for runnel


(literary) a small stream
Word Origin
C16: from Old English rynele; related to run
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 runnel

"rivulet," 1570s, in Hakluyt, alteration of Middle English ryneil, from Old English rinelle, rynel, a diminutive of ryne "a stream" (see run (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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