runt c.1500, "old or decayed tree stump," of unknown origin. Meaning extended to "small ox or cow" (1540s) and by 1610s to other animals and people. Specific Amer.Eng. sense of "smallest of a litter" (especially of pigs) is attested from 1841. Some see a connection to M.Du. runt "ox," but OED thinks this unlikely, and pronounces the word "of obscure origin."

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • runt — runt; runt·ed; runt·i·ness; runt·ish; se·de·runt; runt·ish·ly; runt·ish·ness; …   English syllables

  • Runt — Runt, n. [Written also {rant}.] [Scot. runt an old cow, an old, withered woman, a hardened stem or stalk, the trunk of a tree; cf. D. rund a bullock, an ox or cow, G. rind. Cf. {Rother}, a.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any animal which is unusually small, as… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • runt — [rʌnt] n [Date: 1500 1600; Origin: Perhaps from Dutch rund cow, small ox ] 1.) the smallest and least developed baby animal of a group born at the same time runt of ▪ the runt of the litter 2.) informal a small, unpleasant, or unimportant person …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • runt|y — «RUHN tee», adjective, runt|i|er, runt|i|est. unusually small; undersized; stunted; dwarfish …   Useful english dictionary

  • runt — [runt] n. [< ?] 1. a stunted, undersized, or dwarfish animal, plant, thing, or (usually in a contemptuous sense) person 2. the smallest animal of a litter runtiness n. runty adj. runtier, runtiest …   English World dictionary

  • runt — [ rʌnt ] noun count 1. ) the smallest and weakest animal of a LITTER (=a group born at the same time) 2. ) OFFENSIVE someone who is small or weak …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • runt — • runt, cirka, omkring, ungefär, avrundat …   Svensk synonymlexikon

  • runt — *dwarf, pygmy, midget, manikin, homunculus …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • runt — [n] very small person half pint*, homunculus, Lilliputian, midget, peewee*, punk*, shrimp*; concept 424 …   New thesaurus

  • runt — ► NOUN ▪ a small pig or other animal, especially the smallest in a litter. DERIVATIVES runtish adjective runty adjective. ORIGIN originally in the sense «old or decayed tree stump», later «small ox or cow»: of unknown origin …   English terms dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.