Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
runaway (plural runaways)
- A person or animal that runs away or has run away; a person, animal, or organization that escapes limitations.
- Runaway children are vulnerable to criminal exploitation.
- Thou runaway, thou coward, art thou fled?
1556, Ralph Robinson, Utopia: originally printed in Latin, 1516, translation of original by Sir Thomas More, page 96:
- If any man of his owne heade and without leaue, walke out of his precint and boundes, taken without the princes letters, he is broughte againe for a fugitiue or a runaway with great shame and rebuke, and is sharpely punished.
- A vehicle (especially, a train) that is out of control.
1850, “The Romance of the Electric Telegraph”, in New monthly magazine, volume 41:
- On New Year's Day, 1850, a catastrophe, which it is fearful to contemplate, was averted by the aid of the telegraph. A collision had occurred to an empty train at Gravesend; and the driver having leaped from his engine, the latter started alone at full speed to London. Notice was immediately given by telegraph to London and other stations; and while the line was kept clear, an engine and other arrangements were prepared as a buttress to receive the runaway.
1886, John H. Cooper, “Handling Grain in California”, in Transactions, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, volume 7:
- Runaways are rendered impossible, as the machine can be instantly stopped by means of a double brake connected with the driver's seat
1897, Editor American Machinist, “Runaway Engines and Governors”, in American machinist:
- We hear many ideas advanced as to the cause of engines running away, more especially in electric stations, while the wonder is that the runaways are so few.
- (usually attributive) An object or process that is out of control or out of equilibrium.
1989, Gerald Appel, Winning market systems:
- On the chart, the start of a runaway is marked by a box
1993 June 15, CIO, volume 6, page 26:
- An IS executive's worst nightmare, such runaways are a fact of life. Practically all large companies and organizations have experienced a runaway or are wrestling with a seriously botched project.
2000, F. Matteucci; Franco Giovannelli, The evolution of the Milky Way, page 142:
- The standard X-ray binary Cyg Xl, with a massive BH candidate, is a runaway, This could suggest that a SN explosion occurred. Cluster ejection to make a runaway can not be excluded although in the case of Cyg Xl, the progenitor runaway must have been a binary
2008, Francis Stoessel, Thermal safety of chemical processes, page 257:
- Where practicable, this passive measure reduces the consequences of a runaway.
- The act of running away, especially of a horse or teams.
- There was a runaway yesterday.
- An overwhelming victory.
- The home side won in a runaway.
This word is frequently used attributively, as in "runaway X" to mean "an X which has run away" or "an X which is out of control".
a person or organization that escapes limitations
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