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[ruhn-awf, -of] /ˈrʌnˌɔf, -ˌɒf/
something that drains or flows off, as rain that flows off from the land in streams.
a final contest held to determine a victor after earlier contests have eliminated the weaker contestants.
a deciding final contest held after one in which there has been no decisive victor, as between two contestants who have tied for first place.
Also called rundown. a continual or prolonged reduction, especially in quantity or supply:
a runoff in bank deposits; a sharp runoff in business inventories.
Stock Exchange. the final prices appearing on the ticker after the closing bell is rung for the trading day.
Origin of runoff
1850-55, Americanism; noun use of verb phrase run off; (def 2, 3) see -off Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for runoff
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  • runoff is checked by a sod and less water is used by a sod in mid-summer, after it has been mowed, than by a heavy cover crop.

  • Scrub on the remainder, however, serves to stabilize the soil of the forest lands against erosion and to slow the runoff of water.

    Area Handbook for Bulgaria Eugene K. Keefe, Violeta D. Baluyut, William Giloane, Anne K. Long, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole
  • Such of them as issue from storm sewers will be eliminated when a solution turns up for the problem of runoff water.

    The Nation's River United States Department of the Interior
  • They are spring-fed, and their runoff drains into Turkey Cock Run.

    Green Spring Farm Ross Netherton
  • Geological conditions are frequently of great importance in their influence on the quantity and regularity of runoff.

Word Origin and History for runoff

also run-off, "precipitation water drained by streams and rivers," 1887, from run (v.) + off (adv.). Meaning "deciding race after a tie" is from 1873; electoral sense is attested by 1910, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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