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run (v.)

Old English, "move swiftly by using the legs, go on legs more rapidly than walking," also "make haste, hurry; be active, pursue or follow a course," and, of inanimate things, "to move over a course."

The modern verb is a merger of two related Old English words, in both of which the initial two letters sometimes switched places. The first is intransitive rinnan, irnan "to run, flow, run together" (past tense ran, past participle runnen), which is 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 as of "No certain IE etymology."

Of streams, etc., "to flow," from late Old English. From c. 1200 as "take flight, retreat hurriedly or secretly." Phrase run for it "take flight" is attested from 1640s.

Also from c. 1200 as "compete in a race." Extended to "strive for any ends," especially "enter a contest for office or honors, stand as a candidate in an election" (1826, American English).

Of any sort of hurried travel, c. 1300. From early 13c. as "have a certain direction or course." By c. 1300 as "keep going, extend through a period of time, remain in existence." Specifically of theater plays by 1808. Of conveyances, stage lines, etc., "perform a regular passage from place to place" by 1817.

Of machinery or mechanical devices, "go through normal or allotted movements or operation," 1560s. Of colors, "to spread in a fabric when exposed to moisture," 1771. Of movie film, "pass between spools," hence "be shown," by 1931.

The meaning "carry on" (a business, etc.) is by 1861, American English; hence extended senses of "look after, manage." As "publish or print in a newspaper or magazine," by 1884. 

Many senses are via the notion of "pass into or out of a certain state." To run dry "cease to yield water or milk" (1630s). In commerce, "be of a specified price, size, etc.," by 1762. To run low "be nearly exhausted" is by 1712; to run short "exhaust one's supply" is from 1752; to run out of in the same sense is from 1713. To run on "keep on, continue without pause or change" is from 1590s.

The transitive sense of "cause to run" was in Old English. By late 15c. as "to pierce, stab," hence 1520s as "thrust through or into something." The meaning "enter (a horse) in a race" is from 1750. The sense of "cause a mechanical device to keep moving or working" is by 1817.

Many figurative uses are from horseracing or hunting (such as to run (something) into the ground "carry to excess, exhaust by constant pursuit," 1836, American English).

To run across "meet by chance, fall in with" is attested from 1855, American English. To run into in this sense is by 1902. To run around with "consort with" is from 1887.

In reference to fevers by 1918. To run a (red) traffic signal is by 1933. Of tests, experiments, etc., by 1947. Of computers by 1952. Time has been running out since c. 1300. To run in the family is by 1771. The figurative expression run interference (1929) is from U.S. football. To run late is from 1954.

run (n.)

mid-15c. (earlier ren, late 14c.), "a spell of running, the act of running," from run (v.).

The Old English noun ryne meant "a flowing, a course, a watercourse;" the modern sense of "small stream" is recorded from 1580s, mostly in Northern English dialect and American English. The sense of "a flowing or pouring, as of liquid" is by 1814. In reference to the action of a school of fish moving together, especially upstream or in-shore, by 1820.

From 1804 as "place where anything runs or may run." The meaning "the privilege of going through or over, free access" is from 1755. In. U.S. baseball, "feat of running around the bases without being put out" by 1856; the sense in cricket is from 1746.

Meaning "continuous stretch" (of something) is from 1670s. That of "continuous use, circulation, or observance" (as in run of luck) is by 1714. The general sense of "a continuous series or succession" has yielded many specific meanings, as "three or more playing cards in consecutive order" (1870). In music, "a rapid succession of consecutive tones," by 1835.

The financial meaning "extraordinary series or rush of demands on a bank, etc." is recorded from 1690s. The market sense of "sustained demand for something" is by 1816.

From 1712 as "a spell of sailing between two ports;" hence also "an excursion trip" (1819); "single trip by a railroad train" (1857); the military aircraft attack sense (as in bombing run) is from 1916. Hence also "a regular round in a vehicle" (as in paper run, milk run, etc.).

In printing, the meaning "total number of copies done in a single period of press-work" is from 1909. In publishing, "set or series of consecutive numbers of a periodical," by 1889.

Meaning "tear in a knitted garment or stocking" is from 1922, probably on the notion of "a failure caused by looseness, weakness, or giving way;" to run had a specialized sense in reference to machinery, "to slip, go awry" (1846), and in reference to lace it meant "to unravel, come undone" (1878). Also compare running stitch "loose, open stitch" (1848).

Phrase a run for one's money "satisfaction for trouble taken" is from 1872 in a figurative sense, from horse racing, where it implied real competition (1841).

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Definitions of run from WordNet
1
run (v.)
move fast by using one's feet, with one foot off the ground at any given time;
Don't run--you'll be out of breath
The children ran to the store
run (v.)
flee; take to one's heels; cut and run;
If you see this man, run!
Synonyms: scat / scarper / turn tail / lam / run away / hightail it / bunk / head for the hills / take to the woods / escape / fly the coop / break away
run (v.)
stretch out over a distance, space, time, or scope; run or extend between two points or beyond a certain point;
Service runs all the way to Cranbury
Synonyms: go / pass / lead / extend
run (v.)
direct or control; projects, businesses, etc.;
She is running a relief operation in the Sudan
Synonyms: operate
run (v.)
have a particular form;
the story or argument runs as follows
Synonyms: go
run (v.)
move along, of liquids;
Synonyms: flow / feed / course
run (v.)
perform as expected when applied;
Does this old car still run well?
Synonyms: function / work / operate / go
run (v.)
change or be different within limits;
Interest rates run from 5 to 10 percent
Synonyms: range
run (v.)
run, stand, or compete for an office or a position;
Who's running for treasurer this year?
Synonyms: campaign
run (v.)
cause to emit recorded audio or video;
They ran the tapes over and over again
Synonyms: play
run (v.)
move about freely and without restraint, or act as if running around in an uncontrolled way;
let the dogs run free
who are these people running around in the building?
She runs around telling everyone of her troubles
run (v.)
have a tendency or disposition to do or be something; be inclined;
These dresses run small
Synonyms: tend / be given / lean / incline
run (v.)
be operating, running or functioning;
The car is still running--turn it off!
run (v.)
change from one state to another;
run rogue
run amok
run riot
run (v.)
cause to perform;
run a subject
run a process
run (v.)
be affected by; be subjected to;
run a temperature
run a risk
run (v.)
continue to exist;
Synonyms: prevail / persist / die hard / endure
run (v.)
occur persistently;
Musical talent runs in the family
run (v.)
carry out a process or program, as on a computer or a machine;
run a new program on the Mac
Synonyms: execute
run (v.)
include as the content; broadcast or publicize;
We ran the ad three times
Synonyms: carry
run (v.)
carry out;
run (v.)
pass over, across, or through;
He ran his eyes over her body
She ran her fingers along the carved figurine
Synonyms: guide / draw / pass
run (v.)
cause something to pass or lead somewhere;
Synonyms: lead
run (v.)
make without a miss;
run (v.)
deal in illegally, such as arms or liquor;
Synonyms: black market
run (v.)
cause an animal to move fast;
run the dogs
run (v.)
be diffused;
Synonyms: bleed
run (v.)
sail before the wind;
run (v.)
cover by running; run a certain distance;
She ran 10 miles that day
run (v.)
extend or continue for a certain period of time;
The film runs 5 hours
Synonyms: run for
run (v.)
set animals loose to graze;
run (v.)
keep company;
the heifers run with the bulls to produce offspring
Synonyms: consort
run (v.)
run with the ball; in such sports as football;
run (v.)
travel rapidly, by any (unspecified) means;
She always runs to Italy, because she has a lover there
run (v.)
travel a route regularly;
Synonyms: ply
run (v.)
pursue for food or sport (as of wild animals);
The dogs are running deer
Synonyms: hunt / hunt down / track down
run (v.)
compete in a race;
he is running the Marathon this year
Synonyms: race
run (v.)
progress by being changed;
run through your presentation before the meeting
Synonyms: move / go
run (v.)
reduce or cause to be reduced from a solid to a liquid state, usually by heating;
Synonyms: melt / melt down
run (v.)
come unraveled or undone as if by snagging;
Her nylons were running
Synonyms: ladder
run (v.)
become undone;
Synonyms: unravel
2
run (n.)
a score in baseball made by a runner touching all four bases safely;
the Yankees scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th
Synonyms: tally
run (n.)
the act of testing something;
Synonyms: test / trial
run (n.)
a race run on foot;
she broke the record for the half-mile run
Synonyms: footrace / foot race
run (n.)
an unbroken series of events;
Nicklaus had a run of birdies
Synonyms: streak
run (n.)
(American football) a play in which a player attempts to carry the ball through or past the opposing team;
the coach put great emphasis on running
the defensive line braced to stop the run
Synonyms: running / running play / running game
run (n.)
a regular trip;
the ship made its run in record time
run (n.)
the act of running; traveling on foot at a fast pace;
his daily run keeps him fit
he broke into a run
Synonyms: running
run (n.)
the continuous period of time during which something (a machine or a factory) operates or continues in operation;
the assembly line was on a 12-hour run
run (n.)
unrestricted freedom to use;
he has the run of the house
run (n.)
the production achieved during a continuous period of operation (of a machine or factory etc.);
a daily run of 100,000 gallons of paint
run (n.)
a small stream;
Synonyms: rivulet / rill / runnel / streamlet
run (n.)
a race between candidates for elective office;
he is raising money for a Senate run
Synonyms: political campaign / campaign
run (n.)
a row of unravelled stitches;
she got a run in her stocking
Synonyms: ladder / ravel
run (n.)
the pouring forth of a fluid;
Synonyms: discharge / outpouring
run (n.)
an unbroken chronological sequence;
the play had a long run on Broadway
the team enjoyed a brief run of victories
run (n.)
a short trip;
take a run into town
From wordnet.princeton.edu