Definition of rune in English:

rune

Line breaks: rune
Pronunciation: /ruːn
 
/

noun

1A letter of an ancient Germanic alphabet, related to the Roman alphabet: long ago, a rune had been carved in the centre of the stone the pommel and guard are embellished with runes
More example sentences
  • Oddly enough, I memorized the Anglo-Saxon rune alphabet in high school with a friend of mine so we could pass notes in geometry class.
  • He pressed a button, and the runes changed into English letters.
  • The original manuscript has the equivalent letters embedded as runes.
1.1A symbol with mysterious or magic significance.
More example sentences
  • The sword was impressively worked with runes and magic carvings, most of which glowed slightly in various colors.
  • Nearly all the stones were cut in perfect spheres each with a rune that marked the element that they represented.
  • Every stone of the edifice was marked with a rune, coursing with magical strength.
1.2 (runes) Small stones, pieces of bone, etc., bearing symbols with mysterious or magic significance, and used in divination: the casting of the runes
More example sentences
  • I have yet to really read my runes purely intuitively, mainly because I see my runes as the no-nonsense divination tool I have.
  • There is evidence that the Norse used runes for divination before the 12 th or 13 th centuries, however.
  • Since I read the cards and runes too, maybe divination, thought experiment and fable-telling can all flow together for me.
1.3A spell or incantation.
More example sentences
  • A person can go on about sigils, runes and spells for hours in an educated and well read fashion but how far does that match up with personal experience?
  • One was using recordings I made of rune meditations and mixing bits from each rune into a word spell.
  • She began to speak the ancient runes that would enact the spell and was surprised to see the world around her lighten a few shades.
2A section of the Kalevala or of an ancient Scandinavian poem.
More example sentences
  • There was a Danish king of that name who was famed for his generosity, to whom the rune poem probably refers.
  • The runes were collected by a young poet on his long travels for this very purpose.

Runes were used by Scandinavians and Anglo-Saxons from about the 3rd century. They were formed mainly by modifying Roman or Greek characters to suit carving, and were used both in writing and in divination

Origin

Old English rūn 'a secret, mystery'; not recorded between Middle English and the late 17th century, when it was reintroduced under the influence of Old Norse rúnir, rúnar 'magic signs, hidden lore'.

Phrases

read the runes

British Try to forecast the outcome of a situation by analysing all the significant factors involved: the Chancellor read the runes and introduced additional tax measures
More example sentences
  • The MacTaggart Lecture is the opening event when a senior figure in broadcasting reads the runes.
  • Politicians and diplomats on both sides have also been reading the runes, and while each side has claimed a victory of sorts there is little doubt the advantage has slipped Washington's way.
  • And, for as long as they prefer a conjuror's wand to a handset, they will have to go on reading the runes to detect much of an impact, for IT, on productivity.

Derivatives

runic

adjective
More example sentences
  • The scholars contend that parts of his documents seem to be written in a secret runic alphabet used by tradesmen in Sweden in the late 1800s, rather like codes that tramps have used over time to leave secret messages for one another.
  • The company name is from the runic alphabet and represents the sun.
  • During a new dig, he has now discovered a rare Viking buckle with a ‘wonderful runic design’ dating back to the 10th century.

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