Definition of runnel in US English:



  • 1A narrow channel in the ground for liquid to flow through.

    • ‘To accentuate the runnel, some flagstones along it were positioned bottom side up.’
    • ‘In keeping with a project goal to make greening strategies visible to the public, the rainwater not retained by the vegetated roof is directed via surface runnels to water storage.’
    • ‘What routes and courses might emerge from building little channels and runnels?’
    • ‘Trickling water from a wall fountain flows through a stair-stepped runnel (water channel) into the patio below to provide soothing sound.’
    • ‘A glass bottomed runnel, which collects water during the short and torrential rains, doubles as a skylight over a glass shower and over the guest room below.’
    1. 1.1 A brook or rill.
      • ‘From the sketches in Seilacher's paper, we learned that the black dots visible in our photographs might be holes that led straight down a fraction of an inch to a horizontal network of tubes or runnels just beneath the sediment surface.’
      • ‘Now the river is no more than a runnel, and his paintings articulate the artist's inner musings and memories.’
      • ‘In Pune, the oft-maligned Osho Community converted a polluted runnel into a green haven using nature's own sustainable, purifying, systems.’
      • ‘His dumpy women bathers at the Hermitage and the Leiden Museum sit under such trees, with Rembrandtian simplicity dabbling their feet in mere runnels of water.’
      • ‘In general, he has a predilection for the rills and runnels of the past, the tributaries of history rather than what you might consider to be its mainstreams.’
      • ‘The steep slope locally has parallel V-shaped runnels normal to the shelf edge.’
    2. 1.2 A small stream of a particular liquid.
      ‘a runnel of sweat’
      • ‘The rivulets and runnels of Celtic Park are lined with the pictures, mementoes and iconography of former glory.’
      • ‘We snickered at the warm runnels of amber oil running down our forearms and dripping off our elbows as we savored the wonderful meat.’
      • ‘‘Amen,’ Joe echoed and bowed his head and tears slowly slid down his cheeks forming runnels through the dust that had coated his skin as a result of his labours.’
      • ‘The sun's blaring in my eyes, sweat's trickling down my back in runnels, and he comes walking up the hill, a heavy jacket zipped up to the neck on this hot August day.’
      • ‘Water ran in runnels down his cheeks and dripped from his chin.’
      • ‘His head snapped up, showing his tears trailing in runnels down his handsome face.’
      • ‘Luther walked down the dusty streets of Cantrip, runnels of sweat trickling down his back.’
      • ‘Mr Spire seemed of the same mind and was washing his hands in a runnel of dew among a garble of tree roots.’
      trickle, dribble, drip, drop, droplet, stream, rivulet
      View synonyms


Late 16th century (denoting a brook or rill): variant of dialect rindle, influenced by the verb run.