run past: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘run past’ mean?

The idiom "run past" means to quickly mention or discuss something without going into detail or providing much information.

Idiom Explorer

Inexplicable Meanings

While there are several idioms that include the word "run," one of them is the phrase "run past." This idiom is used to convey the action of moving quickly or hurriedly past someone or something. It suggests a sense of urgency or a need to continue on without stopping or getting delayed. The literal meaning of running past someone or something is to physically move past them at a fast pace, but the idiom takes on a figurative meaning that involves a sense of purpose and determination. It is important to note that idioms often have metaphorical meanings that differ from their literal interpretations, and "run past" is no exception.

The idiom "run past" is commonly used in various contexts, such as in daily conversations, literature, and even formal or professional settings. It is a versatile phrase that can be applied in different situations to convey a specific message. This flexibility makes it a valuable addition to the English language and contributes to its widespread usage.

One example of how the idiom "run past" is used can be seen in a simple everyday scenario. Imagine someone rushing through a crowded train station, trying to catch their train before it departs. As they weave past other commuters, their focus is solely on getting to their destination in time. In this situation, the phrase "run past" can describe their quick movements and determination to reach their goal without getting distracted or delayed by others.

A related idiom is "run through." This phrase is similar to "run past" in that it also conveys the action of moving quickly. However, "run through" typically implies a more thorough review or examination of something. For example, if someone is reviewing a document quickly but comprehensively, they might say, "I'll give it a quick run through to catch any errors." This idiom suggests a sense of efficiency and attention to detail, while still emphasizing the need for speed.

Similarly, the idiom "run off" can be related to "run past." "Run off" also describes the act of moving quickly, but it often implies a sense of escape or evasion. For instance, if someone is being chased and they run past their pursuers, they might continue running to "run off" the danger. This idiom indicates a desire to distance oneself from a threatening or undesirable situation.

Another related idiom is "run about." This phrase shares the sense of movement and speed with "run past," but it specifically suggests a lack of direction or purpose. "Run about" is often used to describe someone moving quickly and aimlessly, without a clear destination or objective. For example, if a child is playing in the park and runs from one area to another, exploring without a specific plan, they might be said to be "running about." This idiom conveys a sense of freedom and energy, but without a clear focus or goal.

Back to "run past," the etymology of the idiom reveals interesting insights into its origin and usage. The word "run" has Old English roots and has been used for centuries to denote rapid movement or action. When combined with the word "past," it creates an image of passing or going beyond something. This conveys the notion of moving forward with urgency, leaving something or someone behind.

The figurative meaning of the idiom "run past" is essential for effective communication. It helps convey a sense of urgency, determination, and focus. By using this idiom, speakers can express their intent to move quickly without being sidetracked or delayed. Whether in everyday conversations or professional environments, the phrase "run past" adds depth and clarity to the message being conveyed.

The idiom "run past" is a versatile phrase used to describe moving quickly or hurriedly past someone or something. It carries a figurative meaning of urgency and determination, emphasizing the need to continue without getting sidetracked. The related idioms "run through," "run off," and "run about" also convey various aspects of movement and speed. "Run through" implies a thorough review, "run off" suggests escape or evasion, and "run about" indicates aimless movement. Understanding the figurative meanings of these idioms enhances communication and allows for clearer expression of intentions and actions.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "run past" can be used in a sentence:

  1. He quickly ran past the park without noticing the new playground equipment.
  2. She ran past me in the hallway without saying a word.
  3. Don't simply run past the instructions, take your time to read them carefully.

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