30 Different Ways to Use the Word RUN


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RUN as a Verb

run = move quickly using your legs

  • The athletes are running towards the finish line.
  • The dog ran after the car.

run = leave/go (informal)

  • Sorry, I can’t talk now – I’ve gotta run!
  • He had to run to a meeting; he’ll be back later.

run = manage, direct, be the leader/organizer

  • She runs a tutoring business.
  • I’m running a special project this month.

run = travel over a regular route

  • The bus runs every ten minutes

run = a machine working

  • Don’t put your hand in there while the machine is running.
  • He left the car running while he went into the store.

run = liquid flowing out 

  • My nose is running – I need a tissue.
  • Tears ran down her face.
  • There’s no running water in the village.
    (“running water” is the modern water system where you open the faucet and water comes out automatically)

run = be a candidate for political office

  • Melanie is running for state senator.
  • Joe ran for president twice.

run = cost (informal)

  • Repairs to your air conditioner can run you a couple thousand dollars.

Phrasal Verbs with RUN

run into = encounter

  • I wasn’t expecting to run into my dentist at the nightclub.
  • We didn’t finish on time because we ran into a few problems.

run over = when a car passes on top of something

  • ran over a rabbit while driving home from work.

run out = when the supply of something is finished; there is no more available

  • We ran out of popcorn and I had to go buy some more.
  • The kids have been fighting all day and my patience is about to run out.

run something by someone = get the person’s opinion or approval of it

  • I have a couple ideas I’d like to run by you.

Idioms & Expressions with RUN

on the run = in a hurry, or trying to escape from the police

  • I don’t have time for hobbies because I’m always on the run.
  • Three criminals escaped from prison and are currently on the run.

in the long run = for a long period of time, or in the far future

  • I know it’s not fun to do exercise, but it’s good for you in the long run.

run a red light = drive through a red traffic light illegally

  • He got a ticket after running a red light.

run in the family = be a common characteristic in a biological family

  • Mental illness seems to run in her family.

give someone a run for their money = compete very well against someone who is an established expert

  • Johnson is the reigning gymnastics champion, but I think Smith will give him a run for his money this year.

run errands = do the necessary tasks of daily life outside the house

  • ran some errands this afternoon – I went to the bank, post office, and supermarket.

run like clockwork = functions perfectly efficiently and on time

  • Everything was very well organized and the conference ran like clockwork.

run out of gas/steam = lose energy/momentum

  • ran out of steam halfway through the marathon and didn’t finish.

run rampant = run, grow, or develop out of control

  • The disease is running rampant through the countryside.

run-of-the-mill = average, typical, nothing special

  • We were served a run-of-the-mill red wine that wasn’t particularly memorable.

hit a home run = have an especially successful achievement

  • His first three companies failed, but he hit a home run with the fourth one.

This expression comes from baseball – a “home run” is when a player hits the ball so far that it goes outside the field, scoring at least one point automatically.

the run-up to = the period of time leading up to an important event

  • The competitors are all training hard in the run-up to the tournament.

run a tight ship = keep very strict discipline

  • The director runs a tight ship; she won’t accept excuses for sloppy mistakes.

run interference = block or handle problems on behalf of another person

  • The author gets a lot of mail, so she has a personal assistant to run interference for her.

This expression comes from American football, where one player might “run interference” (block players from the other team) so that his teammate with the ball can have a clear path.

have the runs = have diarrhea

  • After I ate some pork from a street vendor, I had the runs for a couple days.

run someone ragged = make the person extremely tired by keeping them busy/overworked

  • The boss has run the whole team ragged by expecting us to work until midnight every day.

run counter to = be in opposition to

  • His views run counter to those of his coworkers.

have a good run = have a period of success

  • The band had a good run in the 1990s, with several world tours.

run the gamut = cover a wide range

  • Her hobbies run the gamut from stamp collecting to waterskiing.

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