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[ruhn-awf, -of]
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  1. something that drains or flows off, as rain that flows off from the land in streams.
  2. a final contest held to determine a victor after earlier contests have eliminated the weaker contestants.
  3. a deciding final contest held after one in which there has been no decisive victor, as between two contestants who have tied for first place.
  4. Also called rundown. a continual or prolonged reduction, especially in quantity or supply: a runoff in bank deposits; a sharp runoff in business inventories.
  5. Stock Exchange. the final prices appearing on the ticker after the closing bell is rung for the trading day.

Origin of runoff

1850–55, Americanism; noun use of verb phrase run off; (def 2, 3) see -off
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for runoff


also run-off, "precipitation water drained by streams and rivers," 1887, from run (v.) + off (adv.). Meaning "deciding race after a tie" is from 1873; electoral sense is attested by 1910, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper