Definition of rune in English:

rune

noun

  • 1A letter of an ancient Germanic alphabet, related to the Roman alphabet.

    ‘long ago, a rune had been carved in the centre of the stone’
    ‘the pommel and guard are embellished with runes’
    • ‘The original manuscript has the equivalent letters embedded as runes.’
    • ‘They also plan to erect a standing stone in New York City's Central Park, carved with Viking runes in honour of Eriksson's 1000th anniversary.’
    • ‘The runes also show a path of progression from the Elder Futhark, to the Anglo-Saxon runes with some influence from Ogham, to English.’
    • ‘The smooth stone walls of the place were covered in runes and Glyphs.’
    • ‘Oddly enough, I memorized the Anglo-Saxon rune alphabet in high school with a friend of mine so we could pass notes in geometry class.’
    • ‘‘They seem to be in the same language as the runes on the Lasershot, but older,’ he said.’
    • ‘He was a jeweler of sorts but as a hobby he spiffed around in ancient runes and languages.’
    • ‘Covering the hilt were runes of some lost language, and in the centre was an impressive green gemstone.’
    • ‘If you convince yourself that you will get some deeper insight into a situation by interpreting the situation in terms of a set of abstract symbols like the runes, you will probably get that insight.’
    • ‘He pressed a button, and the runes changed into English letters.’
    • ‘Both bear diplomatic plates and a licence which purports to be in the language of Old Britain, derived from Finnish, Estonian, ancient runes and a lot of ethno-linguistic study.’
    • ‘As with relics or ancient runes, it's all about touching, reading, pondering, examining.’
    • ‘They walked into a huge building, a temple riddled with runes and hieroglyphs.’
    • ‘This is a written language which looks similar to runes and other ancient scripts, however academics have been struggling for many years to correctly decipher it.’
    • ‘The Nazi's made good use of the runes and Germanic icons because they were Germanic and thus nationalizing, and because they just looked cool.’
    • ‘They had no written language beyond a crude system of notations which were even more limited than the runes of Earth's ancient barbarians.’
    • ‘There were several different versions of some of the runes, and individual runes might be carved back-to-front or upside down.’
    • ‘There were some ancient stones with runes carved into them in a place in Denmark called Jelling, they were pretty cool.’
    • ‘Some of the unusual runes on the Kensington Rune Stone turn out to belong to the secret tradesmen's version of the alphabet.’
    • ‘There are several threads on the runes and Futhark here, if you want to know more.’
    letter, figure, symbol, sign, mark, type, cipher, device, hieroglyph
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    1. 1.1 A symbol with mysterious or magic significance.
      • ‘In fact he wore a complete set of finely made golden samurai armor, and in his gauntleted hands he carried a pair of long wooden swords, each one with ancient runes scrawled up their sides.’
      • ‘Strange runes that glowed with fire were carved upon the stone pinnacles.’
      • ‘He pulled several down and discovered that the pages were stamped with bizarre runes of what must have been the written form of the Martian language.’
      • ‘Carefully consulting the book, he scrawled various glyphs and runes at certain points in the design.’
      • ‘The sword was impressively worked with runes and magic carvings, most of which glowed slightly in various colors.’
      • ‘Nearly all the stones were cut in perfect spheres each with a rune that marked the element that they represented.’
      • ‘"I can decipher these runes, " she said, leaning on the rock.’
      • ‘His brother had spent nearly all day and night trying to carve a simple rune into the face of a small amethyst.’
      • ‘Around its edges strange runes were carved into it, giving it a unique, magical air.’
      • ‘They took bottles of differing colors of dyes and began to paint his body in the patterns of runes and symbols as ancient as Eire itself.’
      • ‘Queer runes and letterings were scratched across the wallpaper, which was tarnished and weathered with age.’
      • ‘Every stone of the edifice was marked with a rune, coursing with magical strength.’
      • ‘It's a large stone tablet, covered in runes and markings.’
      • ‘Many New Agers seem to like Tolkein, so the fact that his Hobbits used a kind of runes in their writing may have enhanced the association of runic letters with magic and mystery.’
      • ‘The runes and designs on their bodies moved in the firelight.’
      • ‘Ancient and intricate runes were carved all over it, and the statues of the Goddess Aurora lining the walls all seemed to be gazing at it in appreciation.’
      • ‘Four pillars stood in the four corners and in the center was a stone altar adorned with strange runes.’
      • ‘They hadn't been walking for very long when the mage stopped at a plain, metal door with a rune carved heavily in its surface.’
      • ‘Unlike Belloc's old staff, the new staves were ornately carved with runes and ancient arcane symbols.’
      • ‘The walls were covered with writing and occasional symbols which I understood to be runes.’
      emblem, symbol, logo, badge, stamp, trademark, crest, insignia, coat of arms, escutcheon, seal, mark, figure, design, logotype, logogram, monogram, hallmark, tag, motto, token, motif, colophon, ideogram
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    2. 1.2runes Small stones, pieces of bone, etc., bearing symbols with mysterious or magic significance, and used in divination.
      ‘the casting of the runes’
      • ‘Add a few divination or protection symbols, and you are ready to start using your runes!’
      • ‘The medicine man was always asking me why I worked with runes and other belief systems.’
      • ‘Numerological significance can greatly add to the power of the runes when used in magic.’
      • ‘Anyone can make a set of runes by burning the symbols on bits of wood or painting them on stones worn smooth by water.’
      • ‘My 9-year-old can lay out cards, cast runes, or make a hexagram.’
      • ‘Of course, one needn't be limited to just tarot in this sense; the I-Ching, runes, bibliomancy, cut-ups, etc. could be used in the same manner.’
      • ‘They are not afraid to use tarot cards, runes, a dowsing rod, or other new techniques to find their way.’
      • ‘Some of us want to learn more about runes, Tarot, and divining skills.’
      • ‘Repeat until you have your full set of runes and an instinctive understanding of how to use them in a variety of ways and for a variety of purposes.’
      • ‘I do not think that any one form seems superior to any others, but then again, I am only seriously experienced with runes for divination.’
      • ‘Proper use of magick then, might entail casting the runes to decide whether a course of action is appropriate.’
      • ‘The runes and the tarot cards are basically back-up information to my intuition; they strengthen my resolve.’
      • ‘I have been doing it for almost seven years but if you asked me to use runes I'm going to need the book!’
      • ‘Since I read the cards and runes too, maybe divination, thought experiment and fable-telling can all flow together for me.’
      • ‘Besides tarot reading there are also runes, pendulums, Numerology, palm reading, tealeaf reading, scrying, and dowsing.’
      • ‘It helps to meditate on your question beforehand, as we're taught to do with Tarot, runes, and the like.’
      • ‘Priests and Priestesses alike don't need runes to cast magic.’
      • ‘There is evidence that the Norse used runes for divination before the 12 th or 13 th centuries, however.’
      • ‘I have yet to really read my runes purely intuitively, mainly because I see my runes as the no-nonsense divination tool I have.’
    3. 1.3 A spell or incantation.
      • ‘One must dedicate time, and energy in learning the basics of the Craft - its rituals, rules, rites and runes.’
      • ‘If I was as drunk as these bottles say I was, I couldn't have cast a rune, let alone a spell.’
      • ‘One was using recordings I made of rune meditations and mixing bits from each rune into a word spell.’
      • ‘A person can go on about sigils, runes and spells for hours in an educated and well read fashion but how far does that match up with personal experience?’
      • ‘One may also bury a piece of wood inscribed with a protection rune or script.’
      • ‘She began to speak the ancient runes that would enact the spell and was surprised to see the world around her lighten a few shades.’
      • ‘Several ancient runes were engraved upon the walls of the stairwell.’
      • ‘The walked past the gigantic, humming engine, which was covered with runes and marks that channeled the magic that made it run smoothly.’
      • ‘As for bind runes, I'll share that bit for the class here as well.’
      incantation, charm, conjuration, magic formula
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  • 2A section of the Kalevala or of an ancient Scandinavian poem.

    • ‘The runes were collected by a young poet on his long travels for this very purpose.’
    • ‘There was a Danish king of that name who was famed for his generosity, to whom the rune poem probably refers.’

Runes were used by Scandinavians and Anglo-Saxons from about the 3rd century. They were formed mainly by modifying Roman or Greek characters to suit carving, and were used both in writing and in divination

Phrases

  • read the runes

    • Try to forecast the outcome of a situation by analysing all the significant factors involved.

      ‘the Chancellor read the runes and introduced additional tax measures’
      • ‘Politicians and diplomats on both sides have also been reading the runes, and while each side has claimed a victory of sorts there is little doubt the advantage has slipped Washington's way.’
      • ‘And, for as long as they prefer a conjuror's wand to a handset, they will have to go on reading the runes to detect much of an impact, for IT, on productivity.’
      • ‘He has read the runes of the times better than many of his critics, even if there can be arguments about his tactics and strategy.’
      • ‘Those who had been reading the runes over the past few months knew that the Executive was being worn down by the lobby groups.’
      • ‘Cautious in so many ways, Stalin trusted in his ability to read the runes of Hitler's intentions without discussing the evidence with anyone else.’
      • ‘The MacTaggart Lecture is the opening event when a senior figure in broadcasting reads the runes.’
      • ‘The sport's soothsayers were reading the runes yesterday and decided that Silverstone is a ‘bogey’ circuit for him.’
      • ‘So reading the runes then, a Pearl phone, perhaps with some fancy imaging integrated, looks likely to take its place in the 8000 series.’
      • ‘His admission that he is anticipating a third-term majority of 120 shows he has been reading the runes very closely indeed.’
      • ‘But with a PC price war looming, the boys that billed themselves as the premier Linux PC hardware company read the runes, took a long lunch and bolted.’

Origin

Old English rūn ‘a secret, mystery’; not recorded between Middle English and the late 17th century, when it was reintroduced under the influence of Old Norse rúnir, rúnar ‘magic signs, hidden lore’.

Pronunciation

rune

/ruːn/