Definition of runnel in US English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To accentuate the runnel, some flagstones along it were positioned bottom side up.’
    1. 1.1 A brook or rill.
      • ‘The steep slope locally has parallel V-shaped runnels normal to the shelf edge.’
      • ‘In Pune, the oft-maligned Osho Community converted a polluted runnel into a green haven using nature's own sustainable, purifying, systems.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now the river is no more than a runnel, and his paintings articulate the artist's inner musings and memories.’
    2. 1.2 A small stream of a particular liquid.
      ‘a runnel of sweat’
      • ‘Mr Spire seemed of the same mind and was washing his hands in a runnel of dew among a garble of tree roots.’
      • ‘Water ran in runnels down his cheeks and dripped from his chin.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘We snickered at the warm runnels of amber oil running down our forearms and dripping off our elbows as we savored the wonderful meat.’
      • ‘Luther walked down the dusty streets of Cantrip, runnels of sweat trickling down his back.’
      • ‘His head snapped up, showing his tears trailing in runnels down his handsome face.’
      • ‘The rivulets and runnels of Celtic Park are lined with the pictures, mementoes and iconography of former glory.’
      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.