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run-down (adj.)
1866, of persons, with reference to health, from verbal phrase, from run (v.) + down (adv.). From 1896 of places; 1894 of clocks. Earliest sense is "oppressed" (1680s).
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run (n.)
"a spell of running," mid-15c. (earlier ren, late 14c.), from run (v.). The Old English noun ryne meant "a flowing, a course, a watercourse." Modern sense of "small stream" first recorded 1580s, mostly Northern English dialect and American English.

Meaning "continuous stretch" (of something) is from 1670s. Meaning "series or rush of demands on a bank, etc." is first recorded 1690s. Meaning "the privilege of going through or over" is from 1755. Baseball sense is from 1856. Meaning "single trip by a railroad train" is from 1857. Military aircraft sense is from 1916. Meaning "total number of copies printed" is from 1909. Meaning "tear in a knitted garment" is from 1922. Phrase a run for one's money is from 1872 in a figurative sense, originally from horse racing, implying competition (1841).
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down (adj.)

1560s, "directed downward," from down (adv.). Sense of "depressed mentally" is attested from c. 1600. Slang sense of "aware, wide awake" is attested from 1812. Computer crash sense is from 1965. Down-and-out "completely without resources" is from 1889, American English, from situation of a beaten prizefighter.

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run (v.)

the modern verb is a merger of two related Old English words, in both of which the first letters sometimes switched places. The first is intransitive rinnan, irnan "to run, flow, run together" (past tense ran, past participle runnen), cognate with Middle Dutch runnen, Old Saxon, Old High German, Gothic rinnan, German rinnen "to flow, run."

The second is Old English transitive weak verb ærnan, earnan "ride, run to, reach, gain by running" (probably a metathesis of *rennan), from Proto-Germanic *rannjanan, causative of the root *ren- "to run." This is cognate with Old Saxon renian, Old High German rennen, German rennen, Gothic rannjan.

Watkins says both are from PIE *ri-ne-a-, nasalized form of root *rei- "to run, flow," but Boutkan's sources find this derivation doubtful based on the poor attestation of supposed related forms, and he lists it of "No certain IE etymology."

Of streams, etc., from c. 1200; of machinery, from 1560s. Meaning "be in charge of" is first attested 1861, originally American English. Meaning "seek office in an election" is from 1826, American English. Phrase run for it "take flight" is attested from 1640s. Many figurative uses are from horseracing or hunting (such as to run (something) into the ground, 1836, American English).

To run across "meet" is attested from 1855, American English. To run short "exhaust one's supply" is from 1752; to run out of in the same sense is from 1713. To run around with "consort with" is from 1887. Run away "flee in the face of danger" is from late 14c. To run late is from 1954.

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down (n.3)

1710, "a downward movement," from down (adv.). Football sense of "an attempt to advance the ball" is by 1882.

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down (adv.)

"in a descending direction, from a higher to a lower place, degree, or condition," late Old English shortened form of Old English ofdune "downwards," originally of dune "off from (the) hill," from dune "from the hill," dative of dun "hill" (see down (n.2)). The "hill" word is general in Germanic, but this sense development is peculiar to English. As a preposition, "in a descending direction upon or along,"  from late 14c.

To be down on "express disapproval of" is by 1851. Down home is from 1828 as "in one's home region," as an adjective phrase meaning "unpretentious" by 1931, American English. Down the hatch as a toast is from 1931. Down to the wire is 1901, from horse-racing.

Down Under "Australia and New Zealand" attested from 1886; Down East "Maine" is from 1825; Down South "in the Southern states of the U.S." is attested by 1834. Down the road "in the future" is by 1964, U.S. colloquial. Down-to-earth "everyday, ordinary, realistic" is by 1932.

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down (v.)

1560s, "cause to go down," from down (adv.). Meaning "swallow hastily" is by 1860; football sense of "bring down (an opposing player) by tackling" is attested by 1887. Figurative sense of "defeat, get the better of" is by 1898. Related: Downed; downing.

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down (n.1)

"first feathers of a baby bird; soft covering of fowls under the feathers, the under-plumage of birds," used for stuffing pillows and feather-beds, mid-14c., from Old Norse dunn, which is of uncertain origin. Extended in Modern English to the soft hair of the human face and fine soft pubescence upon plants and some fruit.

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down (n.2)

"a hill of moderate elevation and more or less rounded outline," Old English dun "height, hill, moor," from Proto-Germanic *dunaz- (source also of Middle Dutch dunen "sandy hill," Dutch duin), "probably a pre-insular loan-word from Celtic" [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names], in other words, borrowed at a very early period, before the Anglo-Saxon migration, perhaps from PIE root *dheue- "to close, finish, come full circle."

The more general meaning "elevated rolling grassland; high, rolling region not covered by forest" is from c. 1400. Specifically of certain natural pastureland districts of south and southeast England (the Downs) by mid-15c.

The non-English Germanic words tend to mean "dune, sand bank" (see dune), while the Celtic cognates tend to mean "hill, citadel" (compare Old Irish dun "hill, hill fort;" Welsh din "fortress, hill fort;" and second element in place names London, Verdun, etc.). German Düne, French dune, Italian, Spanish duna are said to be loan-words from Dutch.

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hit-and-run (adj.)
1940, in reference to military raids, etc., from hit (v.) + run (v.). As a noun phrase, Hit and run is from 1899 as a baseball play, 1924 as a driver failing to stop at an automobile accident he caused.
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