Etymology
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runner (n.)

c. 1300, "messenger on foot," agent noun from run (v.). The meaning "one who runs, a racer" is from early 14c.

With many technical senses. The meaning "smuggler, one who risks or evades dangers, impediments, or legal restrictions" is by 1721; the sense of "police officer" is from 1771. The botanical meaning "rooting stem of a plant" is from 1660s. The sense of "embroidered cloth for a table" is from 1888. In baseball, "a base-runner," by 1845.

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Definitions of runner

runner (n.)
someone who imports or exports without paying duties;
Synonyms: smuggler / contrabandist / moon curser / moon-curser
runner (n.)
someone who travels on foot by running;
runner (n.)
a person who is employed to deliver messages or documents;
he sent a runner over with the contract
runner (n.)
a baseball player on the team at bat who is on base (or attempting to reach a base);
Synonyms: base runner
runner (n.)
a horizontal branch from the base of plant that produces new plants from buds at its tips;
Synonyms: stolon / offset
runner (n.)
a trained athlete who competes in foot races;
runner (n.)
(football) the player who is carrying (and trying to advance) the ball on an offensive play;
Synonyms: ball carrier
runner (n.)
a long narrow carpet;
runner (n.)
device consisting of the parts on which something can slide along;
runner (n.)
fish of western Atlantic: Cape Cod to Brazil;
Synonyms: blue runner / Caranx crysos
From wordnet.princeton.edu