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rune1

[roon] /run/
noun
1.
any of the characters of certain ancient alphabets, as of a script used for writing the Germanic languages, especially of Scandinavia and Britain, from c200 to c1200, or a script used for inscriptions in a Turkic language of the 6th to 8th centuries from the area near the Orkhon River in Mongolia.
2.
something written or inscribed in such characters.
3.
an aphorism, poem, or saying with mystical meaning or for use in casting a spell.
Origin
1675-1685
1675-85; < Old Norse rūn a secret, writing, runic character; cognate with Old English rūn (Middle English rune, obsolete English roun). See round2
Related forms
runelike, adjective

rune2

[roon] /run/
noun, Literary.
1.
a poem, song, or verse.
Origin
1865-70; < Finnish runo poem, canto < Scandinavian. See rune1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for rune
  • Its blade caught the torchlight and scrawled an arcing rune of fire in the gloom.
British Dictionary definitions for rune

rune

/ruːn/
noun
1.
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.
any obscure piece of writing using mysterious symbols
3.
a kind of Finnish poem or a stanza in such a poem
Derived Forms
runic, adjective
Word Origin
Old English rūn, from Old Norse rūn secret; related to Old Saxon, Old High German, Gothic runa
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rune
n.

Old English run, rune "secret, mystery, dark mysterious statement, (secret) council," also "a runic letter" (runstæf), from Proto-Germanic *runo (cf. Old Norse run "a secret, magic sign, runic character," Old High German runa "a secret conversation, whisper," Gothic runa), from PIE *ru-no-, source of technical terms of magic in Germanic and Celtic (cf. Gaelic run "a secret, mystery, craft, deceit, purpose, intention, desire," Welsh rhin "a secret, charm, virtue." Cf. also Runnymede.

The word entered Middle English as roun and by normal evolution would have become Modern English *rown, but it died out mid-15c. when the use of runes did. The modern usage is from late 17c., from German philologists who had reintroduced the word in their writings from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish rune, from Old Norse run). The runic alphabet is believed to have developed by 2c. C.E. from contact with Greek writing, with the letters modified to be more easily cut into wood or stone.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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