Definition of runner in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrʌnə/


1A person that runs, especially in a specified way: Mary was a fast runner
More example sentences
  • The fifth-grader, is an honor student, a member of the chess club and one of the school's fastest runners.
  • I was quite a fast runner at school, and ran 100m in 12.9s.
  • He was the fastest runner at school, he knew the maths and the grammar the best, and on the top of it, he could paint and draw better than me.
1.1A person who runs competitively as a sport or hobby: a 400 metres runner
More example sentences
  • For competitive marathon runners, this route is nevertheless considered a hard one.
  • She swapped track for road, became a marathon runner, ran three marathons and won the lot.
  • You can have great track, road and marathon runners all competing in the one race.
sprinter, hurdler, racer, long-distance runner, cross-country runner;
competitor, contender, participant, entrant
informal miler
1.2A horse that runs in a particular race: there were only four runners
More example sentences
  • The limit for the race is 20 runners so some horses could face being balloted out later in the week.
  • Only six of the 260 runners declared at the five-day entry stage to run on August 22 had confirmed riders.
1.3A vehicle or machine that operates in a satisfactory or specified way: the van was a good and reliable runner
1.4British informal A contender for a job or position: I am one among fifty runners for the job the original runners for the Booker Prize
1.5British informal An idea that has a chance of being accepted; a practical suggestion: trying to determine whether a tax on books is a runner
More example sentences
  • As the feature on this page explains, this idea is a runner, if not an odds-on certainty.
1.6 Cricket A person who runs between the wickets for an injured batsman: he came in to bat with a runner
More example sentences
  • However, a batsman who has opted for a runner cannot act as a runner for another batsman.
  • However, he may bat with a runner and his contributions will be needed after Warwickshire struggled to 141 for 5.
1.7A messenger, collector, or agent for a bank, bookmaker, or similar.
Example sentences
  • Sammy had even heard of one agent who made his runners pick cotton on his farm as part of their ‘training.’
  • The runners, who collected taxes, delivered communications, and arrested and jailed criminals, belonged to a lower social class.
  • The owners would send money or messages by means of a runner provided by their agent.
messenger, courier, errand boy, messenger boy;
agent, collector
North American informal gofer
1.8An orderly in the army.
Example sentences
  • I'm sending runners from command post to commanders to get orders out to them.
1.9British informal A freelance antiques dealer: ‘runners’ who spend their time looking for good buys
2 [in combination] A person who smuggles specified goods into or out of a country or area: a gun-runner
3A rod, groove, or blade on which something slides.
3.1Each of the long pieces on the underside of a sledge that forms the contact in sliding.
Example sentences
  • After a few hours of this we stopped to put the metal guide pins down through the sledge runners a notch or two deeper, so as to give more effective grip on the ice surface.
3.2 (often runners) A roller for moving a heavy article: the vegetable baskets were on runners
More example sentences
  • The work to which the judge said he would return concerned the removal of a roller shutter and the runners to either side of it at the front of the shop.
3.3A ring capable of slipping or sliding along a strap or rod or through which something may be passed or drawn.
Example sentences
  • Space the runner along the rod so it drapes gently between the rings.
3.4 Nautical A rope in a single block with one end round a tackle block and the other having a hook.
4A shoot, typically leafless, which grows from the base of a plant along the surface of the ground and can take root at points along its length: it’s not always easy to find strawberry runners with good strong roots
More example sentences
  • This way, plants can concentrate all of their energy on producing strong roots and far-stretching runners.
  • Where the plants were growing runners I pegged these down into potting compost with unbent paper clips and watered them.
  • Admittedly they're not very big strawberries, but they taste nice, and the proper strawberry plants only ever seem to grow runners.
4.1A plant that spreads by means of runners.
Example sentences
  • Some, called runners, spread exuberantly, and others are classified as clumpers, which slowly expands from the original planting.
  • Propagate strawberry plants once the crop is finished by pegging down a couple of runners from your best plants.
  • Generally, the tropical bamboos tend to be clumpers and the temperate bamboos tend to be runners.
4.2A twining plant.
5A long, narrow rug or strip of carpet, especially for a hall or stairway: a faded runner held in place with brass stair rods
More example sentences
  • Sliding down the hallway on a carpet runner, Scott came to a screeching halt beside his little sister and reached down to take her hand.
  • Andrei fell in a heap on the carpet runner, screening in pain and clutching his knee.
  • The floor was still that gold flecked marble, but it also had a deep red carpet runner down the center.
6 (also runner stone) A revolving millstone.
7 archaic A police officer. See also Bow Street Runner.
8 (also runner duck) see Indian runner.
Example sentences
  • Earlier this month the sanctuary was called out to save two white runner ducks and in December they had to pick up three ducks from the same place.
9A fast-swimming fish of the jack family, occurring in tropical seas.
  • Several species in the family Carangidae, in particular the rainbow runner and the blue runner (Caranx crysos) of the western Atlantic.
Example sentences
  • They will catch a large variety of small fish which gather under a boat, such as blue runner, jacks and pilchards.
  • Stopping on the way I cast a fly to a snapper which quickly grabbed hold, this was followed by a blue runner then a small barracuda which after one jump threw the hook.
  • A lot of small fish will do the job - Spanish mackerel, bluefish - but the preferred bait is the blue runner, also called a hardtail.


do a runner

British informal Leave or escape hastily or furtively: they both did a runner and they’ve been in hiding ever since
More example sentences
  • Like so many other youngsters who do a runner, she realises you can't escape your past.
  • He also admitted doing a runner when she came round and was upset.
  • It may be only a minor thing tonight, but as soon as it looks like he is sacrificing his personal life so that he can be with me, I am doing a runner…

Words that rhyme with runner

Corunna, front-runner, gunner, oner, punner, scunner, stunner

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: run¦ner

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