Definition of run something down (or run down) in US English:

run something down (or run down)

phrasal verb

  • 1Reduce (or become reduced) in size, numbers, or resources.

    ‘hardwood stocks in some countries are rapidly running down’
    • ‘It would be crazy to run down stocks below the level at which they can be quickly replenished.’
    • ‘Many of Egypt's state-run industries have been privatised, while the country's welfare and education systems have been run down.’
    • ‘Younger relatives, who had been looking forward to inheriting Uncle Jack's vast fortune, had been horrified to discover that he had run it down to a few hundred pounds.’
    • ‘The four state-owned refineries have been run down and cannot produce enough to meet local demand.’
    • ‘Spending on education in Bradford has been run down over a number of years.’
    • ‘The problem will get worse as our own gas supplies are running down.’
    • ‘Production at the plant will be run down between now and the end of the year.’
    • ‘Currently Mr Head is running the business down and having a sale of the stock he has left.’
    • ‘Indeed, such were their riches that they were allowed to take contributions ‘holidays ‘, i.e. hold back payments while the pension fund surpluses were run down.’’
    • ‘Businesses were again building up stock levels after running them down in the last three months of 2001.’
    reduce, cut back on, cut, downsize, decrease, pare down, trim
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    1. 1.1 Lose (or cause to lose) power; stop (or cause to stop) functioning.
      ‘the battery has run down’
      • ‘But I keep letting the batteries run down and don't always have a backup.’
      • ‘It's just that if they upped the speed to 128 kilobits, the thing would get too hot to hold, and the battery would run down in ten minutes.’
      • ‘I seem to get about 12 hours of continuous use before the batteries seem to run down.’
      • ‘They would not start whatever we did and we ended up simply running both batteries down in the process.’
      • ‘I would have taken some photos, but I realised, too late, that the batteries were running down on my camera.’
      • ‘Old batteries have a diminished capacity to hold power, and they run down very quickly.’
      • ‘Her younger sister, Stephanie, was totally enthralled by my torch and doing her best to run down its batteries.’
      • ‘With all the other systems, I would have to remember to turn off the iPod or it would keep playing and run down the batteries.’
      • ‘I was about to test this theory in the few minutes before I had to return the car when I discovered that I had run the battery down by leaving an internal light on.’
      • ‘Since my car won't start anyway, it doesn't matter if the battery runs down.’
    2. 1.2 Gradually deteriorate (or cause to deteriorate) in quality or condition.
      ‘the property had been allowed to run down’
      • ‘Its roads and health service were once the envy of those living to the south of the border, but they have been allowed to run down.’
      • ‘It has invested heavily in upgrading the site, after it was run down by its previous owner.’
      • ‘Her Government has given millions of dollars of taxpayers' money in non-repayable grants of up to $50,000 to repair private houses that have been allowed to run down.’
      • ‘It's shocking the way they let some of these foreign ships run down.’
      • ‘This can be caused by crash or yo-yo dieting, and a lifestyle that is becoming common in 30-something women: working long hours, not eating properly and leading stressful lives, which runs the body down.’
      • ‘The children say the playground has been run down over the last decade.’
      • ‘Grant reminds that even if you do not develop a deadly version of the flu, it wouldn't be fun to have a milder flu run you down.’
      • ‘This could happen if we do not look after our health service and stop running it down.’
      • ‘At the meeting fears were voiced that the hospital had been run down over recent years, forcing it to close.’
      dilapidated, tumbledown, ramshackle, derelict, ruinous, falling to pieces, decrepit, gone to rack and ruin, in ruins, broken-down, crumbling, decaying, disintegrating
      decline, degenerate, go downhill, become dilapidated, go to seed, fall into decay, decay, go to rack and ruin
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