The definition of a rune is any of the characters in the ancient Germanic alphabet or a stone with those characters on them.noun
- An example of a rune is a zig zagged line that means sun.
- An example of a rune is a stone used to divine answers.
- any of the characters of an alphabet (futhark) probably derived from a Greek script and used by the Scandinavians and other early Germanic peoples from about 300
- something inscribed or written in such characters
- a Finnish or Old Norse poem or canto
- Old Poet. any poem, verse, or song, esp. one that is mystical or obscure
Origin: ME roun < OE run, secret, mystery, runic character; readopted in the 17th c. in form of ON rūn: both < IE echoic base *reu-, hoarse sound, roar, grumble > Welsh rhin, secret, L raucus, hoarse; in runesense < Finn runo, poem, canto < ON rūn
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- a. Any of the characters in several alphabets used by ancient Germanic peoples from the 3rd to the 13th century.b. A similar character in another alphabet, sometimes believed to have magic powers.
- A poem or incantation of mysterious significance, especially a magic charm.
Origin: Old Norse or Old English rūn.Word History: Among early peoples writing was a serious thing, full of magical power. In its only reference to writing, the Iliad calls it “baneful signs.” The Germanic peoples used a runic alphabet as their form of writing, using it to identify combs or helmets, make calendars, encode secret messages, and mark funeral monuments. Runes were also employed in casting spells, as to gain a kiss from a sweetheart or to make an enemy's gut burst. In casting a spell the writing of the runes was accompanied by a mumbled or chanted prayer or curse, also called a rune, to make the magic work. These two meanings also appear in Old English rūn, the ancestor of our word. The direct descendants of Old English rūn are the archaic verb round, “whisper, talk in secret,” and the obsolete noun roun, “whispering, secret talk.” The use of the word to refer to inscribed runic characters apparently disappeared in the late 14th or early 15th century but was revived by Danish writers on Germanic antiquities, who adopted it from Old Norse toward the end of the 17th century. Appropriately enough, this sense of rune, which had faded away like a whisper, reappeared from the mists of the past.
Origin: Finnish runo, of Germanic origin.