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’
    • ‘Some of the unusual runes on the Kensington Rune Stone turn out to belong to the secret tradesmen's version of the alphabet.’
    • ‘He was a jeweler of sorts but as a hobby he spiffed around in ancient runes and languages.’
    • ‘As with relics or ancient runes, it's all about touching, reading, pondering, examining.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They had no written language beyond a crude system of notations which were even more limited than the runes of Earth's ancient barbarians.’
    • ‘Covering the hilt were runes of some lost language, and in the centre was an impressive green gemstone.’
    • ‘The smooth stone walls of the place were covered in runes and Glyphs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They walked into a huge building, a temple riddled with runes and hieroglyphs.’
    • ‘‘They seem to be in the same language as the runes on the Lasershot, but older,’ he said.’
    • ‘There are several threads on the runes and Futhark here, if you want to know more.’
    • ‘The original manuscript has the equivalent letters embedded as runes.’
    • ‘There were several different versions of some of the runes, and individual runes might be carved back-to-front or upside down.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The runes also show a path of progression from the Elder Futhark, to the Anglo-Saxon runes with some influence from Ogham, to English.’
    • ‘He pressed a button, and the runes changed into English letters.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There were some ancient stones with runes carved into them in a place in Denmark called Jelling, they were pretty cool.’
    letter, figure, symbol, sign, mark, type, cipher, device, hieroglyph
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    1. 1.1 A symbol with mysterious or magic significance.
      • ‘"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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The runes and designs on their bodies moved in the firelight.’
      • ‘Strange runes that glowed with fire were carved upon the stone pinnacles.’
      • ‘Queer runes and letterings were scratched across the wallpaper, which was tarnished and weathered with age.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nearly all the stones were cut in perfect spheres each with a rune that marked the element that they represented.’
      • ‘Carefully consulting the book, he scrawled various glyphs and runes at certain points in the design.’
      • ‘Every stone of the edifice was marked with a rune, coursing with magical strength.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The sword was impressively worked with runes and magic carvings, most of which glowed slightly in various colors.’
      • ‘Around its edges strange runes were carved into it, giving it a unique, magical air.’
      • ‘It's a large stone tablet, covered in runes and markings.’
      • ‘Unlike Belloc's old staff, the new staves were ornately carved with runes and ancient arcane symbols.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Four pillars stood in the four corners and in the center was a stone altar adorned with strange runes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Priests and Priestesses alike don't need runes to cast magic.’
      • ‘The medicine man was always asking me why I worked with runes and other belief systems.’
      • ‘They are not afraid to use tarot cards, runes, a dowsing rod, or other new techniques to find their way.’
      • ‘I have been doing it for almost seven years but if you asked me to use runes I'm going to need the book!’
      • ‘It helps to meditate on your question beforehand, as we're taught to do with Tarot, runes, and the like.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is evidence that the Norse used runes for divination before the 12 th or 13 th centuries, however.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The runes and the tarot cards are basically back-up information to my intuition; they strengthen my resolve.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Add a few divination or protection symbols, and you are ready to start using your runes!’
      • ‘Numerological significance can greatly add to the power of the runes when used in magic.’
      • ‘I have yet to really read my runes purely intuitively, mainly because I see my runes as the no-nonsense divination tool I have.’
      • ‘Some of us want to learn more about runes, Tarot, and divining skills.’
      • ‘Anyone can make a set of runes by burning the symbols on bits of wood or painting them on stones worn smooth by water.’
      • ‘Proper use of magick then, might entail casting the runes to decide whether a course of action is appropriate.’
      • ‘My 9-year-old can lay out cards, cast runes, or make a hexagram.’
    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.’
      • ‘The walked past the gigantic, humming engine, which was covered with runes and marks that channeled the magic that made it run smoothly.’
      • ‘Several ancient runes were engraved upon the walls of the stairwell.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One was using recordings I made of rune meditations and mixing bits from each rune into a word spell.’
      • ‘One may also bury a piece of wood inscribed with a protection rune or script.’
      • ‘As for bind runes, I'll share that bit for the class here as well.’
      • ‘If I was as drunk as these bottles say I was, I couldn't have cast a rune, let alone a 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?’
      incantation, charm, conjuration, magic formula
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  • 2A section of the Kalevala or of an ancient Scandinavian poem.

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

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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Those who had been reading the runes over the past few months knew that the Executive was being worn down by the lobby groups.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’

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/