Definition of rune in English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As with relics or ancient runes, it's all about touching, reading, pondering, examining.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was a jeweler of sorts but as a hobby he spiffed around in ancient runes and languages.’
    • ‘The runes also show a path of progression from the Elder Futhark, to the Anglo-Saxon runes with some influence from Ogham, to English.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They walked into a huge building, a temple riddled with runes and hieroglyphs.’
    • ‘There were some ancient stones with runes carved into them in a place in Denmark called Jelling, they were pretty cool.’
    • ‘Covering the hilt were runes of some lost language, and in the centre was an impressive green gemstone.’
    • ‘The original manuscript has the equivalent letters embedded as runes.’
    • ‘Some of the unusual runes on the Kensington Rune Stone turn out to belong to the secret tradesmen's version of the alphabet.’
    • ‘The smooth stone walls of the place were covered in runes and Glyphs.’
    • ‘There are several threads on the runes and Futhark here, if you want to know more.’
    • ‘There were several different versions of some of the runes, and individual runes might be carved back-to-front or upside down.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They had no written language beyond a crude system of notations which were even more limited than the runes of Earth's ancient barbarians.’
    • ‘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 seem to be in the same language as the runes on the Lasershot, but older,’ he said.’
    letter, figure, symbol, sign, mark, type, cipher, device, hieroglyph, rune
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A mark or letter of mysterious or magic significance.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's a large stone tablet, covered in runes and markings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every stone of the edifice was marked with a rune, coursing with magical strength.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unlike Belloc's old staff, the new staves were ornately carved with runes and ancient arcane symbols.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Around its edges strange runes were carved into it, giving it a unique, magical air.’
      • ‘Carefully consulting the book, he scrawled various glyphs and runes at certain points in the design.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The sword was impressively worked with runes and magic carvings, most of which glowed slightly in various colors.’
      • ‘Strange runes that glowed with fire were carved upon the stone pinnacles.’
      • ‘His brother had spent nearly all day and night trying to carve a simple rune into the face of a small amethyst.’
      • ‘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 walls were covered with writing and occasional symbols which I understood to be runes.’
      • ‘Four pillars stood in the four corners and in the center was a stone altar adorned with strange runes.’
      emblem, symbol, logo, badge, stamp, trademark, crest, insignia, coat of arms, escutcheon, seal, mark, figure, design, rune, logotype, logogram, monogram, hallmark, tag, motto, token, motif, colophon, ideogram
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Small stones, pieces of bone, etc., bearing runes, and used as divinatory symbols.
      ‘the casting of the runes’
      • ‘Add a few divination or protection symbols, and you are ready to start using your runes!’
      • ‘Since I read the cards and runes too, maybe divination, thought experiment and fable-telling can all flow together for me.’
      • ‘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 have yet to really read my runes purely intuitively, mainly because I see my runes as the no-nonsense divination tool I have.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They are not afraid to use tarot cards, runes, a dowsing rod, or other new techniques to find their way.’
      • ‘Numerological significance can greatly add to the power of the runes when used in magic.’
      • ‘The runes and the tarot cards are basically back-up information to my intuition; they strengthen my resolve.’
      • ‘Some of us want to learn more about runes, Tarot, and divining skills.’
      • ‘I have been doing it for almost seven years but if you asked me to use runes I'm going to need the book!’
      • ‘There is evidence that the Norse used runes for divination before the 12 th or 13 th centuries, however.’
      • ‘My 9-year-old can lay out cards, cast runes, or make a hexagram.’
      • ‘Proper use of magick then, might entail casting the runes to decide whether a course of action is appropriate.’
      • ‘Priests and Priestesses alike don't need runes to cast magic.’
      • ‘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 medicine man was always asking me why I worked with runes and other belief systems.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Anyone can make a set of runes by burning the symbols on bits of wood or painting them on stones worn smooth by water.’
    3. 1.3A spell or incantation.
      • ‘If I was as drunk as these bottles say I was, I couldn't have cast a rune, let alone a spell.’
      • ‘Several ancient runes were engraved upon the walls of the stairwell.’
      • ‘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 was using recordings I made of rune meditations and mixing bits from each rune into a word spell.’
      • ‘One must dedicate time, and energy in learning the basics of the Craft - its rituals, rules, rites and runes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One may also bury a piece of wood inscribed with a protection rune or script.’
      incantation, charm, conjuration, rune, magic formula
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4A 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.’


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.