A word with nearly inexhaustible applications but always denoting movement, run can refer to any small stream, brook, creek, rivulet, channel, overflow, or swiftly flowing watercourse. Also defined as a small stream and its valley (Bull Run, Virginia), run is often associated with defile and ravine. How it is differentiated from runnel, rundle, and runlet seems to be a matter of local preference. As for river, creek, and run, early Virginians came to think of the river as being the largest, the creek as smaller, and the run as the smallest of the three bodies of water. Run can also refer to an exposed branchlike body of ore or igneous rock. In mining, a run is a flow of sand; a slip, slide, or sudden fall of earth. In logging: any path followed in skidding logs (also called a skid road or gutter board); a run-around is that portion of the river where the water has changed its course, often because of a logjam; a tiered tower of hewn logs built into the bank at the curve of a driving river to keep logs from jamming is a run dam. Also, an extensive range of pasture or grazing land; a regular track made by certain animals, as in a rabbit run.

Kim Barnes