run train

or run a train or pull a train

[ruhn treyn] or [ruhn uh treyn] or [pool uh treyn]

What does run train mean?

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To run train (or run a train) refers to when multiple men have sex with a woman one after the other, with or without consent. Outside of sex, to run train on something can mean "to dominate" it, as in a sporting event or video game, or to do something energetically and thoroughly, as in to run train on an exam.

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Examples of run train

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Examples of run train
Bout to run train on this #Chipotle

@herbielike, January 2019

@AOC should "run train" on some civics books.
@bssgrady, January 2019
Misgendering, white privilege, and transphobia: to quote Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, today we run train on the progressive agenda.
The Michael Knowles Show (podcast description), The Daily Wire, January 2019

Where does run train come from?

Drew Jacksich / Wikipedia

As early as 1949, train was used to refer to group sex involving one woman and multiple men who had sex with her in sequence. Pulling a train typically meant submitting a woman to this treatment without her consent, a form of gang rape. In this vulgar metaphor, according to Green’s Dictionary of Slang, the woman is the “engine” and the men the “rolling stock,” or cars of the train.

By the 1970s, the expression had become run a/the train on someone and can be consensual. By the 1980s, to run/pull a double train was, in black slang, when two men had sex with a woman at the same time. By 2003, when Urban Dictionary first entered the slang, the article (a/the) had fallen out, yielding run train.

Run train has other, less overtly sexual meanings. Attested at least by 2009, to run train on your competition, especially in a game, is to “overpower” or “steamroll” them. This sense may well derive, however, from the power dynamics of gang rape.

The expression run train came into the spotlight in January 2019 when popular and newly elected congressional representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used it in an interview with Washington Post reporter Elise Viebeck. Commenting on a fake nude picture posted of her, Ocasio-Cortez said:

The nude is supposed to be like the bazooka. You know, like, “We’re going to take her down.” Dude, you’re all out of bullets, you’re all out of bombs, you’re all out of all this stuff. What have you got left? I’m six days into the term, and you already used all your ammo. So enjoy being exhausted for the next two years while we run train on the progressive agenda.

Ocasio-Cortez’s use of run train raised the ire of some, especially those on the right, who accused her of using lewd, insensitive language. In the case of her example, however, “to run train on” the progressive agenda clearly means “to advance” or “conquer” it.

Who uses run train?

As the Ocasio-Cortez episode reveals, run train can be a problematic expression. On the one hand, we see it evolving as a vivid, non-sexual way to express domination, such as in the sports, or in video games like Call of Duty.

This sense appears to be further expanding to “screwing over” or, well, “fucking over” someone.

As evidenced in Ocasio-Cortez’s use of the term, run train can also be used synonymously with another idiomatic phrase, to “go to town on” something, or to do something thoroughly and energetically.

On the other hand, run train has a sexual history associated with rape. Run train still sees use in sexual contexts. Men may crassly use run train in suggesting they will sexually dominate a woman. Various pornographic content may reference run train for consensual group sex, though it’s hard to rule out rape fantasies there.

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