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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for runabout

Historical Examples of runabout

  • 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.

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

verb run about

(intr, 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

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