Definition of run riot in English:

run riot


  • 1Behave in a violent and unrestrained way.

    ‘a country where freelance gunmen run riot, looting and hijacking food’
    • ‘The fight to bring the law up-to-date and stop cyber criminals running riot is severely hampered by the lack of understanding of the scope of the problem.’
    • ‘Mr Debnam argued that ‘armed robbers are running riot across the inner west’ and that police did not have the numbers to deal with it.’
    • ‘The tearaway runs riot, swears and abuses, causes criminal damage and ridicules the elderly.’
    • ‘Hence why a good teacher wont spend all their time allowing children to run riot in the classroom but wont spend all their time shouting at them either.’
    • ‘I suppose she cooked you breakfast in bed then disappeared for the rest of the day to let you run riot.’
    • ‘The heavily pregnant ewes were scattered in all directions, as the ferocious dogs ran riot in the field.’
    • ‘Children are running riot in pubs because publicans cannot ask them to leave.’
    • ‘She cited a recent incident when, in broad daylight, a group of youths armed with sticks ran riot through a nearby street smashing the windows of cars and houses.’
    • ‘I just got them to sit down and be quiet, they've been running riot all day.’
    • ‘Ten dead, over a dozen pupils injured, and another school traumatized by a student running riot with guns in the classroom.’
    go on the rampage, rampage, riot, run amok, go berserk, get out of control, run free, go undisciplined
    rampage, go on the rampage, take to the streets, fight in the streets, start a fight, raise an uproar, cause an affray, go wild, run wild, run amok, go berserk, fight, brawl, scuffle
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    1. 1.1 (of a mental faculty or emotion) function or be expressed without restraint.
      ‘her imagination ran riot’
      • ‘In the heart of the Nevada desert, it is a playground for adults where the imagination runs riot.’
      • ‘The middle is ultimately the climax, where the comedian comes into his own, letting imagination run riot in the filthiest, most entertaining way possible.’
      • ‘Indian imagination seems to have run riot around this fascinating, multifaceted character of Krishna: his pranks, his romance and his philosophy.’
      • ‘Thankfully, no-one was hurt, but still, Tom's mind was running riot with panic and worry.’
      • ‘In fact, less a village and more an example of what happens when a childlike imagination runs riot in the mind of an architect of means.’
      • ‘Once your child starts playgroup and you go back to work, your emotions may run riot.’
      • ‘There are strong indications throughout the film that the whole story is nothing more than Kevin's imagination run riot.’
      • ‘Let us put our mind in neutral, and let our imaginations run riot.’
      • ‘I amuse myself by allowing my imagination to run riot again…’
      • ‘When walking over these battlefields, the imagination runs riot envisaging the unremitting slaughter among the Russians and Japanese in battles which presaged the nature of the First World War.’
      • ‘Childhood is a time when imagination runs riot.’
    2. 1.2 Proliferate or spread uncontrollably.
      ‘traditional prejudices were allowed to run riot’
      • ‘Sex and religion run riot through the lyrical imagery - paired up like a hilariously mismatched sitcom couple once again.’
      • ‘Rumours spread of his solitude, speculation running riot in the castle…’
      • ‘It's probably easier in a small business not to let things run riot.’
      • ‘Window boxes run riot all summer and at this time of year pavements are stained purple with mulberries from trees planted on the orders of Elizabeth I.’
      • ‘Names are established, reputations ruined, narcissism runs riot and lives are changed forever.’
      • ‘Where space is at a premium, I'd recommend growing roses vertically, climbing or rambling varieties planted to run riot up a wall or up a free-standing trellised arch, leaving the pots and beds for other plants.’
      • ‘The fusion of these two elements has attracted admirers who hanker after this minimalist vision, but Kelly is more at home when she is allowed to run riot with dramatic textures.’
      grow profusely, spread uncontrolled, increase rapidly, grow rapidly, luxuriate, spread like wildfire, burgeon, prosper
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