run around after: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘run around after’ mean?

The idiom "run around after" means to constantly be busy or occupied attending to someone or something. It suggests a sense of being constantly on the move or dealing with various tasks and responsibilities.

Idiom Explorer


The idiom "run around after" describes the act of tending to someone's or something's needs, often in a repetitive or exhaustive manner. It expresses the idea of ceaselessly attending to someone or something, going to great lengths to meet their demands or take care of their needs.

The origins of the idiom "run around after" can be traced back to the late 18th century when it began to appear in written texts and literature. The phrase evolved from the literal meaning of "run" and "after," which indicate the act of chasing or pursuing someone or something. Over time, it took on a figurative sense, representing the act of constantly tending to someone or something, following them around to fulfill their requests or requirements.

The idiom "run around after" is commonly used in informal or colloquial contexts to convey a sense of frustration, exhaustion, or annoyance resulting from the constant need to cater to someone's needs. It is frequently used in personal relationships to describe an individual who is constantly taking care of a demanding partner or a parent who tirelessly tends to their child's ever-changing demands. Additionally, it can be used in professional or work-related situations to highlight the burden of constantly attending to a demanding boss or juggling multiple tasks simultaneously.

He continued to run around even after exhaustion.

In addition to "run around after," there are two related idioms that convey similar meanings: "run around" and "run around with." The idiom "run around" is used to describe the act of being busy or constantly active, often without achieving significant results. It implies a sense of being caught in a cycle of movement and busyness without accomplishing meaningful tasks. On the other hand, the idiom "run around with" conveys the idea of spending time with someone or being associated with them. It suggests a close connection or involvement with the person or group in question.

The idiom "run around after," along with its related idioms "run around" and "run around with," reflects the dynamic nature and intricacies of human relationships and responsibilities. It emphasizes the role of caretaking and the demands that come with it. These idioms encapsulate the feeling of being caught in a cycle of perpetual care, where one is constantly on the move, fulfilling the needs of others.

While the act of "running around after" can be draining and exhausting, it also showcases the dedication and selflessness required in caretaking roles. The constant attention and effort put into tending to someone or something's needs demonstrate the willingness to go above and beyond for the sake of others. However, it's important to strike a balance and not become overwhelmed by the demands placed upon us.

The idiom "run around after" is a well-known phrase in the English language that signifies the act of ceaselessly attending to someone or something's needs. It originated from the literal meaning of "run" and "after," conveying the idea of pursuing or chasing someone or something. The idiom is commonly used in personal and professional contexts to highlight the burden and exhaustion associated with constantly tending to the demands of others. It reflects the complexities of human relationships and the responsibilities that come with them. While the act of "running around after" can be draining, it also showcases the dedication and selflessness required in caretaking roles.

Example usage

1. My mother is always running around after my little sister, making sure she has everything she needs.

2. After the party, I had to run around after everyone to collect their empty cups and plates.

3. The manager is tired of running around after his careless employees, constantly reminding them to follow the rules.

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