Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A Finnish poem or section of a poem.
  • noun Any of the characters in several alphabets used by ancient Germanic peoples from the 3rd to the 13th century.
  • noun A similar character in another alphabet, sometimes believed to have magic powers.
  • noun A poem or incantation of mysterious significance, especially a magic charm.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A letter or character used by the peoples of northern Europe from an early period to the eleventh century; in the plural, the ancient Scandinavian alphabets, believed to be derived from a Greek source; especially, the letters carved on stones, weapons, etc., found in Scandinavia, Scotland, and Ireland. Runes are found in almost all the maritime parts of Europe.
  • noun A short mystic sentence embodying the wisdom of the old Northern philosophers.
  • noun A secret; mystery; obscure saying.
  • noun Early rimes or poetry expressed, or which might be expressed, in runic characters.
  • noun Any song, poem, verse, or the like, which is mystically or obscurely expressed.
  • noun An obsolete variant of rine, run.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A letter, or character, belonging to the written language of the ancient Norsemen, or Scandinavians; in a wider sense, applied to the letters of the ancient nations of Northern Europe in general.
  • noun Old Norse poetry expressed in runes.
  • noun a stone bearing a runic inscription.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A letter, or character, belonging to the written language of various ancient Germanic peoples, especially the Scandinavians and the Anglo-Saxons.
  • noun A Finnish poem, or a division of one, especially a division of the Kalevala.
  • noun Any verse or song, especially one with mystical or mysterious overtones; an incantation.
  • noun obsolete A roun.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun any character from an ancient Germanic alphabet used in Scandinavia from the 3rd century to the Middle Ages

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Finnish runo, of Germanic origin.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Old Norse or Old English rūn.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Norse rún. Compare roun.

Examples

  • If the rune were a word, it would have been that one, but there was more meaning to it than any word she could imagine.

    Cassandra Clare: The Mortal Instrument Series

  • If the rune were a word, it would have been that one, but there was more meaning to it than any word she could imagine.

    The Mortal Instruments: Book One: City of Bones

  • 'Now I must recall the rune which came so easily, unsummoned, to my brain not many months since.'

    Elric of Melnibone

  • The word "rune," in Baltic Runes, indicates a magical incantation -- an apt image for such an enchanting album.

    On CD: Baltic Runes

  • The word "rune," in Baltic Runes, indicates a magical incantation -- an apt image for such an enchanting album.

    Paul Hillier, Estonian chamber choir make magic

  • The word "rune" comes from a Gothic word meaning a secret thing, a mystery.

    Early European History

  • So this dear, deluded old gentleman, having failed to secure a 'rune' in Java brought back something equally cryptic -- a woman?

    Cleek, the Master Detective

  • So this dear, deluded old gentleman, having failed to secure a 'rune' in Java, brought back something equally cryptic -- a woman?

    Cleek: the Man of the Forty Faces

  • Despite the fact that scholars of all nations scoffed at the thing, and pointed out that the very term 'rune' is of Teutonic origin, one enthusiastic old gentleman -- Mr. Michael Bawdrey, a retired brewer, thirsting for something more enduring than malt to carry his name down the ages -- became fired with enthusiasm upon the subject, and set forth for

    Cleek: the Man of the Forty Faces

  • Despite the fact that scholars of all nations scoffed at the thing and pointed out that the very term 'rune' is of Teutonic origin, one enthusiastic old gentleman -- Mr. Michael Bawdrey, a retired brewer, thirsting for something more enduring than malt to carry his name down the ages -- became fired with enthusiasm upon the subject, and set forth for

    Cleek, the Master Detective

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  • July 21, 2008