See more synonyms for runner on
  1. a person, animal, or thing that runs, especially as a racer.
  2. a messenger.
  3. a messenger of a bank or brokerage house.
  4. Baseball. base runner.
  5. Football. the ball-carrier.
  6. a person whose business it is to solicit patronage or trade.
  7. a person acting as collector, agent, or the like, for a bank, broker, etc.
  8. something in or on which something else runs or moves.
  9. either of the long, bladelike strips of metal or wood on which a sled or sleigh slides.
  10. the blade of an ice skate.
  11. the rotating system of blades driven by the fluid passing through a reaction turbine.
  12. the rotating member of a pair of millstones.Compare bed stone.
  13. a roller on which something moves along.
  14. Furniture.
    1. a sliding piece, as a loper.
    2. rocker(def 1).
  15. an operator or manager, as of a machine.
  16. a long, narrow rug, suitable for a hall or passageway.
  17. a long, narrow strip of line, embroidery, lace, or the like, placed across a table.
  18. Botany.
    1. a slender stolon that runs along the surface of the ground and sends out roots and leaves at the nodes, as in the strawberry.
    2. a plant that spreads by such stems.
  19. Metallurgy. any of the channels through which molten metal flows.
  20. a smuggler.
  21. a vessel engaged in smuggling.
  22. a person who takes, transmits, and often pays off bets for a bookmaker or a numbers pool.
  23. Ichthyology. a jurel, Caranx crysos, inhabiting waters from Cape Cod to Brazil.
  24. Building Trades. a horizontal longitudinal timber resting upon the uprights of a staging and supporting the footing pieces.
  25. Theater. a piece of carpet or matting placed in the wings for deadening offstage sounds.
  26. a tackle or part of a tackle consisting of a line rove through a single block and fixed at one end.

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. 2018

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


  1. a person who runs, esp an athlete
  2. a messenger for a bank or brokerage firm
  3. an employee of an art or antique dealer who visits auctions to bid on desired lots
  4. a person engaged in the solicitation of business
  5. a person on the run; fugitive
    1. a person or vessel engaged in smuggling; smuggler
    2. (in combination)a rum-runner
  6. 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
  7. a roller or guide for a sliding component
  8. a channel through which molten material enters a casting or moulding
  9. the rotating element of a water turbine
  10. another name for running belay
  11. any of various carangid fishes of temperate and tropical seas, such as Caranx crysos (blue runner) of American Atlantic waters
  12. botany
    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
  13. a strip of lace, linen, etc, placed across a table, dressing table, etc for protection and decoration
  14. a narrow rug or carpet, as for a passage
  15. another word for rocker (def. 3)
  16. 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

runner in Science


  1. 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.