- an animal that is small or stunted as compared with others of its kind.
- the smallest or weakest of a litter, especially of pigs or puppies.
- a person who is small and contemptible: That runt causes most of the trouble at the meetings.
- British Dialect.
- an old or decayed tree stump.
- an old cow or ox.
- an ugly old woman; hag.
Origin of runt
Examples from the Web for runt
And by military standards and compared with everyone who was around there—he was a runt.Manning Is Guilty and So Is the Army That Sent Him Overseas
Brian Van Reet
August 22, 2013
He had been right in his conjecture, Slim was “the runt of something good.”The Man from the Bitter Roots
Who'd have thought that the runt was the smartest of the family?
And if he objected—as he usually did—they were sure to laugh and call him "Runt."
A runt from under the Mormon ditch; we raise bigger on our land.The Lady Doc
Men with hearts in them; and Rosy, let me tell you, is no runt in that litter.Red-Tape and Pigeon-Hole Generals
William H. Armstrong
- the smallest and weakest young animal in a litter, esp the smallest piglet in a litter
- derogatory an undersized or inferior person
- a large pigeon, originally bred for eating
Word Origin and History for runt
c.1500, "old or decayed tree stump," of unknown origin. Meaning extended to "small ox or cow" (1540s) and by 1610s generally to undersized animals and people. Specific American English sense of "smallest of a litter" (especially of pigs) is attested from 1841. Some see a connection to Middle Dutch runt "ox," but OED thinks this unlikely, and pronounces the word "of obscure origin." Related: Runty (1807).