run around

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run around (third-person singular simple present runs around, present participle running around, simple past ran around, past participle run around)

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see run,‎ around.
  2. (idiomatic, intransitive) To be very busy doing many different things.
    I don't want to run around all week getting everything ready for the holidays.
  3. (idiomatic, intransitive) To go from place to place.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “A very welcome, kind, useful present, that means to the parish. By the way, Hopkins, let this go no further. We don't want the tale running round that a rich person has arrived. Churchill, my dear fellow, we have such greedy sharks, and wolves in lamb's clothing. […]”
  4. (rail transport, of a locomotive) To move from one end of the consist to the other, so as to pull the train in the opposite direction.
  5. (slang) To cheat; to be unfaithful to a romantic partner.
  6. (tennis, of a forehand or a backhand) To change one's position on the court to hit a forehand rather than a backhand, or visa-versa.
    • 2006, Greg Moran, Tennis Beyond Big Shots, page 71, →ISBN
      He'd gotten into tremendous shape so that he could run around his backhand and avoid hitting it altogether. He even tried a left-handed forehand. That was how desperate he was.


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Derived terms[edit]



run around (plural run arounds)

  1. Alternative form of runaround
    • 1893, The New England Medical Gazette - Volume 28, page 183:
      Natrum sulp. is my specific for inflammations of the matrix of the nails or " run arounds."
    • 1914, Mine and Quarry - Volumes 8-11, page 1176:
      The sketch shows the arrangement of run arounds for bringing the loaded trips into the bottom and for returning the empties to the proper quarter of the mine.
    • 1937, United States. National Railroad Adjustment Board, Awards: first division. 1- - Volume 7, page 504:
      The Committee contends : First, that the turn of Brakeuien W. R. Tighe and W. F. Haworth was run around at Baird by the crews of Conductors Schwartz, Russell, Hubbard, and Whaley and thereby lost 200 miles, or four 50-mile run arounds.