Entries related to also-ran
Old English eallswa "just as, even as, as if, so as, likewise," contraction of eal swa, from all "altogether" + so. Originally an emphatic form of so. The sense of "wholly so" weakened to "in addition to, in the same way," replacing eke. Used in Old English to introduce a sequel to a preceding statement, "and so, then, therefore." Used from c. 1200 in connecting sentences, "in addition, moreover." The compound has parallel forms in German also, Dutch alzoo. English as is a shortened form of it.
Early ME has the phrase as well as the compound. The reduced forms alse, als, as gradually become established in certain constructions, the fuller also in others .... The clear distinction between also and as is not attained until the 15th century. [Middle English Compendium, University of Michigan]
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.