[ ruhn-ing ]
/ ˈrʌn ɪŋ /




in succession; consecutively: He slept badly for three nights running.


    in the running,
    1. participating or entered as a competitor.
    2. under consideration as a candidate or possible choice: Who is still in the running for the directorship?
    3. among the winners or those making a good showing.
    out of the running,
    1. not competing in a contest or race.
    2. not among the winners or runners-up in a contest or race: to finish out of the running.

Origin of running

Middle English word dating back to 1150–1200; see origin at run, -ing1, -ing2

Related forms

well-run·ning, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for in the running


/ (ˈrʌnɪŋ) /



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

Idioms and Phrases with in the running (1 of 2)

in the running


Entered as a competitor in a contest. For example, Is Mary in the running for this election? The antonym, out of the running, means “not entered as a competitor,” as in Ian is out of the running for the job now that he's living in another state. [Mid-1800s]


Having a chance to win, as in Mary's still in the running for the promotion. Again, out of the running means the opposite, as in He's too old—he's out of the running. [Mid-1800s] Both usages allude to the entry and chances of a horse in a race.

Idioms and Phrases with in the running (2 of 2)


In addition to the idioms beginning with running

  • running on empty
  • running start

also see:

  • hit the ground running
  • in the running
  • meter is running
  • off and running

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.