Origin of runner

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at run, -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for runner

Contemporary Examples of runner

Historical Examples of runner

  • But they saw that the sea was for the swimmer, and the sand for the feet of the runner.

    De Profundis

    Oscar Wilde

  • I told you that I knew the Bow Street runner who was in the barouche.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • In the south, too, hoop iron or whalebone is used for runner shoeing.

  • The victors sent the runner Pheidippides to bear the news to Athens.

    Introductory American History

    Henry Eldridge Bourne

  • One eye applied to a crack scanned the runner, who stood there alert.

    The Plunderer

    Roy Norton

British Dictionary definitions for runner



a person who runs, esp an athlete
a messenger for a bank or brokerage firm
an employee of an art or antique dealer who visits auctions to bid on desired lots
a person engaged in the solicitation of business
a person on the run; fugitive
  1. a person or vessel engaged in smuggling; smuggler
  2. (in combination)a rum-runner
a person who operates, manages, or controls something
  1. either of the strips of metal or wood on which a sledge runs
  2. the blade of an ice skate
a roller or guide for a sliding component
a channel through which molten material enters a casting or moulding
the rotating element of a water turbine
another name for running belay
any of various carangid fishes of temperate and tropical seas, such as Caranx crysos (blue runner) of American Atlantic waters
  1. a slender stem with very long internodes, as of the strawberry, that arches down to the ground and propagates by producing roots and shoots at the nodes or tip
  2. a plant that propagates in this way
a strip of lace, linen, etc, placed across a table, dressing table, etc for protection and decoration
a narrow rug or carpet, as for a passage
another word for rocker (def. 3)
do a runner slang to run away in order to escape trouble or to avoid paying for something
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 runner

c.1300, "messenger on foot," agent noun from run (v.). Meaning "one who runs" is early 14c. Meaning "smuggler" first recorded 1721; sense of "police officer" is from 1771. Meaning "rooting stem of a plant" is from 1660s; that of "embroidered cloth for a table" is from 1888.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for runner



A slender stem that grows horizontally and puts down roots to form new plants. Strawberries spread by runners. Also called stolon Compare bulb corm rhizome tuber.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.