run rings around


1 [ring]
a typically circular band of metal or other durable material, especially one of gold or other precious metal, often set with gems, for wearing on the finger as an ornament, a token of betrothal or marriage, etc.
anything having the form of such a band: a napkin ring; a smoke ring.
a circular or surrounding line or mark: dark rings around the eyes.
a circular course: to dance in a ring.
a number of persons or things situated in a circle or in an approximately circular arrangement: a ring of stones; a ring of hills.
the outside edge of a circular body, as a wheel; rim.
an enclosed area, often circular, as for a sports contest or exhibition: a circus ring.
an enclosure in which boxing and wrestling matches take place, usually consisting of a square, canvas-covered platform with surrounding ropes that are supported at each corner by posts.
the sport of boxing; prizefighting: the heyday of the ring.
(formerly in the U.S., now only in Brit.) an area in a racetrack where bookmakers take bets.
a group of persons cooperating for unethical, illicit, or illegal purposes, as to control stock-market prices, manipulate politicians, or elude the law: a ring of dope smugglers.
a single turn in a spiral or helix or in a spiral course.
Geometry. the area or space between two concentric circles.
a circle of bark cut from around a tree.
Chemistry. a number of atoms so united that they may be graphically represented in cyclic form. Compare chain ( def 7 ).
Architecture, rowlock ( def 1 ).
a bowlike or circular piece at the top of an anchor, to which the chain or cable is secured. See diag. under anchor.
Also called spinning ring. Textiles. (in the ring-spinning frame) a circular track of highly polished steel on which the traveler moves and which imparts twists to the yarn by variations in its vertical movement.
a unit of measurement of the diameter of cigars, equal to 1/64 of an inch. Also called ring gauge.
Automotive, Machinery, piston ring.
Mathematics. a set that is closed under the operations of addition and multiplication and that is an Abelian group with respect to addition and an associative semigroup with respect to multiplication and in which the distributive laws relating the two operations hold.
verb (used with object), ringed, ringing.
to surround with a ring; encircle.
to form into a ring.
to insert a ring through the nose of (an animal).
to hem in (animals) by riding or circling about them.
to girdle ( def 11 ).
(in horseshoes, ringtoss, etc.) to encircle (a stake or peg) with a ring, horseshoe, etc.
verb (used without object), ringed, ringing.
to form a ring or rings.
to move in a ring or a constantly curving course: The road rings around the mountain.
run rings around, to be obviously superior to; surpass; outdo: As an artist, she can run rings around her brother.
throw/toss one's hat in/into the ring. hat ( def 8 ).

before 900; Middle English; Old English hring; cognate with Dutch, German ring, Old Norse hringr; akin to rank1

ringless, adjective
ringlike, adjective

2. circle, circlet, hoop; annulus. 7. arena, rink, circle. 12. bloc, coterie, confederacy, league; gang, mob, syndicate. Ring, clique are terms applied with disapproving connotations to groups of persons. Ring suggests a small and intimately related group, combined for selfish and often dishonest purposes: a gambling ring. A clique is a small group that prides itself on its congeniality and exclusiveness: cliques in a school. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ring1 (rɪŋ)
1.  a circular band usually of a precious metal, esp gold, often set with gems and worn upon the finger as an adornment or as a token of engagement or marriage
2.  any object or mark that is circular in shape
3.  a circular path or course: to run around in a ring
4.  a group of people or things standing or arranged so as to form a circle: a ring of spectators
5.  an enclosed space, usually circular in shape, where circus acts are performed
6.  a square apron or raised platform, marked off by ropes, in which contestants box or wrestle
7.  the ring the sport of boxing
8.  the field of competition or rivalry
9.  throw one's hat in the ring to announce one's intention to be a candidate or contestant
10.  a group of people usually operating illegally and covertly: a drug ring; a paedophile ring
11.  (esp at country fairs) an enclosure, often circular, where horses, cattle, and other livestock are paraded and auctioned
12.  an area reserved for betting at a racecourse
13.  a circular strip of bark cut from a tree or branch, esp in order to kill it
14.  a single turn in a spiral
15.  geometry the area of space lying between two concentric circles
16.  maths a set that is subject to two binary operations, addition and multiplication, such that the set is an Abelian group under addition and is closed under multiplication, this latter operation being associative
17.  botany short for annual ring
18.  chem Also called: closed chain a closed loop of atoms in a molecule
19.  astronomy See also Saturn any of the thin circular bands of small bodies orbiting a giant planet, esp Saturn
20.  informal run rings around to be greatly superior to; outclass completely
vb , rings, ringing, ringed
21.  to surround with or as if with or form a ring; encircle
22.  to mark (a bird) with a ring or clip for subsequent identification
23.  to fit a ring in the nose of (a bull, pig, etc) so that it can be led easily
24.  Also: ringbark
 a.  to cut away a circular strip of bark from (a tree or branch) in order to kill it
 b.  to cut a narrow or partial ring from (the trunk of a tree) in order to check or prevent vigorous growth
25.  (Austral), (NZ) to be the fastest shearer in a shearing shed (esp in the phrase ring the shed)
[Old English hring; related to Old Norse hringr]

ring2 (rɪŋ)
vb (foll by for) , rings, ringing, rang, rung
1.  to emit or cause to emit a sonorous or resonant sound, characteristic of certain metals when struck
2.  to cause (a bell) to emit a ringing sound by striking it once or repeatedly or (of a bell) to emit such a sound
3.  a.  (tr) Compare chime to cause (a large bell, esp a church bell) to emit a ringing sound by pulling on a rope that is attached to a wheel on which the bell swings back and forth, being sounded by a clapper inside it
 b.  (intr) (of a bell) to sound by being swung in this way
4.  (intr) (of a building, place, etc) to be filled with sound; echo: the church rang with singing
5.  to call by means of a bell, buzzer, etc: to ring for the butler
6.  chiefly (Brit) Also: ring up to call (a person) by telephone
7.  (tr) to strike or tap (a coin) in order to assess its genuineness by the sound produced
8.  (intr) (of the ears) to have or give the sensation of humming or ringing
9.  (intr) electronics (of an electric circuit) to produce a damped oscillatory wave after the application of a sharp input transition
10.  slang to change the identity of (a stolen vehicle) by using the licence plate, serial number, etc, of another, usually disused, vehicle
11.  ring a bell to sound familiar; remind one of something, esp indistinctly
12.  ring down the curtain
 a.  to lower the curtain at the end of a theatrical performance
 b.  (foll by on) to put an end (to)
13.  ring false to give the impression of being false
14.  ring the bell
 a.  to do, say, or be the right thing
 b.  to reach the pinnacle of success or happiness
15.  ring the changes to vary the manner or performance of an action that is often repeated
16.  ring true to give the impression of being true: that story doesn't ring true
17.  the act of or a sound made by ringing
18.  a sound produced by or suggestive of a bell
19.  any resonant or metallic sound, esp one sustained or re-echoed: the ring of trumpets
20.  informal chiefly (Brit) a telephone call: he gave her a ring last night
21.  See peal the complete set of bells in a tower or belfry: a ring of eight bells
22.  an inherent quality or characteristic: his explanation has the ring of sincerity
23.  electronics the damped oscillatory wave produced by a circuit that rings
usage  Rang and sang are the correct forms of the past tenses of ring and sing, although rung and sung are still heard informally and dialectally: he rung (rang) the bell

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. hring "circular band," from P.Gmc. *khrengaz (cf. O.N. hringr, O.Fris. hring, Ger. Ring), lit. "something curved," from PIE base *(s)ker- "to turn, bend" (cf. L. curvus "bent, curved," crispus "curly;" O.C.S. kragu "circle," and perhaps Gk. kirkos "ring," koronos "curved"). Meaning "place for prize
fight and wrestling bouts" (early 14c.) is from the space in a circle of bystanders in which such contests were once held (ringside is attested from 1866). Meaning "combination of interested persons" is from 1829. The verb meaning "to make a circle around" is O.E. ymbhringan. The circus ringmaster is recorded from 1873. Tree ring is from 1670s; fairy ring is from 1620s. Nursery rhyme ring a ring a rosie, is attested in an American form (with a different ending) from c.1790. "The belief that the rhyme originated with the Great Plague is now almost universal, but has no evidence to support it and is almost certainly nonsense" ["Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore"]. This connection only dates to the 1960s.

"sound a bell," O.E. hringan, from P.Gmc. *khrenganan (cf. O.N. hringja, Swed. ringa, M.Du. ringen), probably of imitative origin. To give (someone) a ring "call on the telephone" was in use by 1910. To ring down a theatrical curtain is from 1772, from the custom of signaling for it by ringing a bell.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

ring (rĭng)

  1. A circular object, form, or arrangement with a vacant circular center.

  2. The area between two concentric circles; annulus.

  3. A group of atoms linked by bonds that may be represented graphically in circular or triangular form.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
ring   (rĭng)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A set of elements subject to the operations of addition and multiplication, in which the set is an abelian group under addition and associative under multiplication and in which the two operations are related by distributive laws.

  2. A group of atoms linked by bonds that may be represented graphically in circular or triangular form. Benzene, for example, contains a ring of six carbon atoms. All cyclic compounds contain one or more rings. See annulus.

  3. See growth ring.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Ring definition

Used as an ornament to decorate the fingers, arms, wrists, and also the ears and the nose. Rings were used as a signet (Gen. 38:18). They were given as a token of investment with authority (Gen. 41:42; Esther 3:8-10; 8:2), and of favour and dignity (Luke 15:22). They were generally worn by rich men (James 2:2). They are mentioned by Isiah (3:21) among the adornments of Hebrew women.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

run rings around

Also, run circles around. Be markedly superior to, as in Ethan runs rings around David in chess, or In spelling, Karen runs circles around her classmates. The first term, dating from the late 1800s, alludes to a horse running around a riding ring much faster than the others.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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