a small stream; brook; rivulet.
a small channel, as for water.

Also run·let [ruhn-lit] /ˈrʌn lɪt/.

Origin of runnel

1570–80; run (noun) + -el diminutive suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for runnel

Historical Examples of runnel

  • Just before him a runnel of water is gliding, and he bends his head to drink.

  • 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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for runnel



literary a small stream

Word Origin for runnel

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

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