1 [roon]
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.
something written or inscribed in such characters.
an aphorism, poem, or saying with mystical meaning or for use in casting a spell.

1675–85; < Old Norse rūn a secret, writing, runic character; cognate with Old English rūn (Middle English rune, obsolete English roun). See round2

runelike, adjective Unabridged


2 [roon]
noun Literary.
a poem, song, or verse.

1865–70; < Finnish runo poem, canto < Scandinavian. See rune1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
rune (ruːn)
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
[Old English rūn, from Old Norse rūn secret; related to Old Saxon, Old High German, Gothic runa]

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. run, rune "secret, mystery, dark mysterious statement," also "a runic letter," from P.Gmc. *runo (cf. O.N. run "a secret, magic sign, runic character," O.H.G. runa "a secret conversation, whisper," Goth. runa), from PIE *ru-no-, source of technical terms of magic in Gmc. and Celtic. The word entered
M.E. as roun and by normal evolution would have become Mod.Eng. *rown, but it died out c.1450 when the use of runes did. The modern usage is from 1685, introduced by Ger. philologists from a Scand. source (cf. Dan. rune, from O.N. run). The runic alphabet is believed to have developed by 2c. C.E. from contact with Gk. writing, the alphabet modified to be more easily cut into wood or stone. Cf. also Runnymede. For some notes on the Germanic runes, see this page.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

runes definition

1. Anything that requires heavy wizardry or black art to parse: core dumps, JCL commands, APL or code in a language you haven't a clue how to read. Not quite as bad as line noise, but close.
Compare casting the runes, Great Runes.
2. Special display characters (for example, the high-half graphics on an IBM PC).
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
Each year, millions flock to the coastal cities and dense jungles to explore
  historic runes and bike or hiking trails.
Home to excellent surfing beaches, as well as a variety of historic runes, it
  is a unique location to spend a vacation.
But of late, the holy wards and runes have begun to fail.
Totalitarian glyphs and runes etched themselves in the minds of generations.
Related Words
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