Also found in: Thesaurus, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
a. Any of the characters in several alphabets used by ancient Germanic peoples from the 3rd to the 13th century.
b. A similar character in another alphabet, sometimes believed to have magic powers.
2. A poem or incantation of mysterious significance, especially a magic charm.
[Old Norse or Old English rūn.]
Word History: Among early peoples writing was a serious thing, full of magical power. In its only reference to writing, the Iliad calls it "baneful signs." The Germanic peoples used a runic alphabet as their form of writing, using it to identify combs or helmets, make calendars, encode secret messages, and mark funeral monuments. Runes were also employed in casting spells, as to gain a kiss from a sweetheart or to make an enemy's gut burst. In casting a spell the writing of the runes was accompanied by a mumbled or chanted prayer or curse, also called a rune, to make the magic work. These two meanings also appear in Old English rūn, the ancestor of our word. The direct descendants of Old English rūn are the archaic verb round, "whisper, talk in secret," and the obsolete noun roun, "whispering, secret talk." The use of the word to refer to inscribed runic characters was revived by Danish writers who adopted it from Old Norse toward the end of the 1600s and used it in discussions of Germanic antiquities.
A Finnish poem or section of a poem.
[Finnish runo, of Germanic origin.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. (Letters of the Alphabet (Foreign)) any of the characters of an ancient Germanic alphabet, derived from the Roman alphabet, in use, esp in Scandinavia, from the 3rd century ad to the end of the Middle Ages. Each character was believed to have a magical significance
2. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) any obscure piece of writing using mysterious symbols
3. (Poetry) a kind of Finnish poem or a stanza in such a poem
[Old English rūn, from Old Norse rūn secret; related to Old Saxon, Old High German, Gothic runa]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
1. any of the characters of certain ancient alphabets of Germanic languages, esp. of Scandinavia and Britain, from about the 3rd to 13th centuries.
2. something written or inscribed in such characters.
3. something secret or mysterious, as an aphorism with mystical meaning.
[1675–85; < Old Norse rūn a secret, writing, rune; c. Old English rūn (Middle English rune, obsolete E roun). compare round2]
a poem, song, or verse.
[1865–70; < Finnish runo poem, canto < Scandinavian. See rune1]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
rune- An ancient alphabet letter, it is from Old English run, "secret, mystery."
See also related terms for mystery.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||rune - any character from an ancient Germanic alphabet used in Scandinavia from the 3rd century to the Middle Ages; "each rune had its own magical significance"|
grapheme, graphic symbol, character - a written symbol that is used to represent speech; "the Greek alphabet has 24 characters"
thorn - a Germanic character of runic origin
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
rune[ruːn] N → runa f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
rune[ˈruːn] n → rune f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007