What does ‘run across’ mean?
The idiom run across means to encounter or come across something or someone unexpectedly. It implies a chance or random meeting rather than a planned or sought-after encounter.
The idiom "run across" is a commonly used phrase in American English. It signifies the act of encountering or meeting someone or something unexpectedly or by chance during a journey or a period of movement. It is often used in informal or conversational contexts, and it conveys the element of surprise or unexpectedness in the encounter.
For example, someone might say, "I ran across an old friend when I was at the mall," or "I ran across an interesting article while browsing the internet." The idiom is flexible in terms of the nouns that can follow it, as it can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns, as well as with abstract concepts. The specific noun that follows the idiom is not important; what matters is the idea of an unplanned encounter or discovery.
The origin of the idiom "run across" is not clear or well-documented. It likely emerged naturally from the combination of the meanings of the words "run" and "across." While its exact origins may remain a mystery, its widespread use and acceptance suggest that it has been in common usage for a considerable period of time.
Overall, the idiom "run across" is a versatile and frequently used phrase that signifies a chance or unexpected encounter or discovery. It encapsulates the unpredictable nature of life and the constant potential for unexpected encounters.
Another related idiom that is similar in meaning to "run across" is "cross someone's path." This idiom also describes a chance encounter or meeting, but it emphasizes the idea of someone's path crossing in front of another person's path. It is often used metaphorically to describe the meeting of two individuals or the crossing of two separate paths or journeys.
For example, someone might say, "I was walking in the park when I crossed paths with my neighbor," or "Our paths crossed at a business conference, and we ended up collaborating on a project." In both cases, the idiom conveys the idea of two individuals unexpectedly meeting or crossing each other's paths.
The idiom "cross paths" is similar to "cross someone's path" and also refers to the chance encounter or crossing of paths. However, "cross paths" is a more general phrase that can be used to describe any unplanned encounter or meeting, without emphasizing the specific individuals involved.
For example, someone might say, "I crossed paths with a famous celebrity while I was traveling in the city," or "I often cross paths with interesting people during my daily commute." In both cases, the idiom conveys the idea of unexpected encounters or meetings with people or things while going about one's daily activities.
When we look at these related idioms, we can see that they all share the common theme of chance or unexpected encounters. Whether you run across someone or something, cross someone's path, or cross paths with someone or something, the underlying idea remains the same: the encounter or meeting is unplanned and happens by chance.
These idioms highlight the unpredictable nature of human experiences and interactions. They remind us that even in our carefully planned lives, we can still come across unexpected people, objects, or information. These chance encounters often bring new opportunities, connections, or insights into our lives, and they serve as reminders that life is full of surprises.
The idiom "run across" is a commonly used phrase that signifies the act of encountering or meeting someone or something unexpectedly during a journey or period of movement. It is often used in informal or conversational contexts and conveys the element of surprise or unexpectedness in the encounter. The idiom is flexible in terms of the nouns that can follow it, and its exact origins are not clear. However, its widespread use and acceptance suggest that it has been in common usage for a considerable period of time. The idiom, along with related phrases like "cross someone's path" and "cross paths," emphasizes the unpredictable nature of human experiences and interactions, reminding us that life is full of unexpected encounters and opportunities.
Examples of how the idiom "run across" can be used in a sentence:
- I ran across an old friend at the grocery store yesterday.
- We often run across unexpected challenges in our line of work.
- While cleaning out the attic, I ran across an old photo album.