Cliche Corner – “Run”

I thought it was time for another Cliché Corner when I “ran” across this saying the other day – “run of the mill.” Of course, I asked our Cliché Corner contributor, Mary Pat, for her input. Here is what she found: “Run of the mill today means ordinary or average, but it originated as things produced by a mill or factory that were released before they were graded or checked for quality. The quality could be excellent, average, or poor – the purchaser had no idea.” Who knew?

That response prompted me to look into more expressions using “run” – there are a TON! I found several more at, and

Many, of course, have to do with movement, but some are . . . huh? “Run a tight ship,” “run a temperature,” and the one with which I started the post – to “run” across something. Can you think of more? Do you use any expressions using “run”?

11 thoughts on “Cliche Corner – “Run””

    • Oh, wow. Run into is such as common phrase – I certainly hope I don’t, literally, run into a friend – we might not be friends after that! Now that I think about, we could bump into a friend, though.
      But run with the wrong crowd is great! Does “hang out with the wrong crowd” mean the same thing?

  1. Barbara, you are so much fun!

    What about “give someone a run for their money” and “run into the ground”?

    • I’m glad you think this stuff is fun – I do! And your examples are great. I can imagine people running to compete for money – do you think that’s where this expression comes from? Run into the ground, though – is there running involved? Too much running means you become super tired? Wow – that one has me stumped.

      • Apparently, to want to get a “run for your money” comes from horse racing. You could bet on a horse, but then they were pulled before the race, so you didn’t get a “run” for your bet.

        “Run into the ground” is supposedly from hunting and it meant to chase an animal all the way into the earth (for example, it’s burrow).

        • Ah, so both of theses expressions involve someone or something running. Thanks for letting us know!
          A “ski run” involves movement, but not (I think?) actually running. I guess a “run in my stockings” also involves movement (that darn snag kept going!). 😉

    • Hey, Cindi, I’m glad the links will be useful. My friend, Claudia, who works at the Adult Literacy League, has been working on a “phrasal verb” project to help non-English speakers “get” our weird expressions. I can see, from this “run” puzzle, her project will be never ending!!
      While talking with Claudia yesterday, I came up with another “run” expression – how about “I’ve run out of apples”? I hope no one expects me to run to the store (haha – there’s another one!) to get apples. Geez . . . 🙄😵


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