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run: The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "run"

WARNING: There are many different meanings of the English word "run." The right ASL sign for "run" depends on your meaning.


RUN:  Version 1
This version is a general sign for run that means to "move swiftly on foot so that both feet leave the ground during each stride" (

Both hands use "L" handshapes.  The right index finger is laying up against the left thumb. Both hands move forward as the index finger flex twice.  As the index fingers flex, the right index finger wraps around the left thumb.  If the thumbs bend a bit that is okay and simply a byproduct of flexing the index fingers.

Animation: "RUN"


This next version also means "run" as in ""move swiftly on foot so that both feet leave the ground during each stride."  Both hands are in "L" shapes, palms down.  Hands touch at the tips of the thumbs. Hands move forward as the index fingers flex twice.

RUN (Version 2)

Animation:  "RUN" (version 2)



In English the word "run" can be used to refer to a wide variety of concepts which have nothing to do with using your legs and feet to move swiftly:
a car engine running
run for office
a run in your stocking
a runny nose
"the runs" (diarrhea)

Each of these concepts would be signed differently and would not use either of the signs for "RUN" (shown above). Instead you would use ASL signs that have closer meanings to the actual concept.  For example "run for office" would be shown with the signs "volunteer"-APPLY COMPETE ______" and the specific office being sought (governor, mayor etc.)


Conceptual accuracy - various ways to sign RUN. 
It depends on on what you mean. 

Definition: To move at a speed faster than a walk 
Example: She RAN home. 
Version 1: 
Version 2: 

Definition: To flee, escape 
Example: She RAN away from home 

Definition: To move about in a hurried and hectic way. 
Example: She spent the whole day RUNNING errands 

Definition: To run for office (an election contest). 
Examples: She RAN for mayor and won. 

Definition: To go back and forth. 
Example: She RAN back and forth to the bathroom. 

Definition: to continue in force, operation, or production. 
Example: The contract has two more years to RUN. 

Definition: to function or operate 
Example: She RAN the business from her home. 

Definition: to flow rapidly or under pressure 
Example: She RAN the water in the bathtub. 

Definition: To pass from one state or condition to another 
Example: She RAN up her level of debt. 



Vocabulary and topics covered in this video:

legs moving fast
run against, COMPETE, RACE, sports
run away, ESCAPE, elope, flee
run back and forth, COMMUTE
run after, CHASE

The babysitter ran after the child.
The delivery run takes about 4 hours.
The cat ran out the door.
The two sisters ran against each other in the pageant.
The analyst kept running back and forth to the bathroom.

run out of, ALL-GONE, used up
run = control, MANAGE
run = continue, persist, keep going
figure out

The meeting ran on and on.
Yesterday, we ran out of soap.
The auditor ran the figures twice.
My father runs a computer repair store.
I've run out of patience.

runs in the, PASS-down GENERATION
run four legs, RUNNING-animal
run into, BUMP-into
run a comb, COMB-hair

The horse ran through the woods.
I ran into an old student of mine yesterday
She carefully ran a comb through the tangled hair.
The blue eye gene runs in the family.
The goat ran up to the fence.

run errands, to-dos, run a line
DRAW or WRITE-a-line
run a machine, OPERATE-machine
ran down
RUN-legs moving + context

The engine runs smoothly
The teacher ran a line down the board.
She was constantly on the run all day.
The man ran down the street to catch the bus.
The scientist ran a series of tests.

run through PIERCE
run up, INCREASE
run = path, road street way

My brother ran a splinter into his toe.
The contestants walked down the runway.
Eating too many berries gave my daughter the runs.
The hospital bill ran up into the thousands
The ski run was very steep.
run into or bleed into = MERGE or MIX
run = tear, RIP-tear
run a machine = OPERATE-machine

The different colored paints run into each other.
My kids love to run around in the back fields.
Pulling a snag in the sweater caused a run.
My boss did not know how to run the copy machine.
Every morning, my husband runs 3 miles.

run fingers through hair
eyes ran down / over, LOOK-at or READ

The thief ran out the store with the bag of money.
The teacher ran over the list of names to see who was missing.
The man was arrested due to a hit and run incident.
The guy had a habit of running his fingers through his hair.
The assistant makes frequent runs to the coffee shop next door.

run down, DETERIORATE, retrogress, declining
runny nose
head cold (sick)
CAR run off road

My daughter left the water running all night.
The car ran off the road.
The neighborhood was run-down.
The little boy had a runny nose.
You can see the water running from the radiator hose.
The show in Las Vegas ran for two years.
The girl ran as fast as she could to win the race.
The business ran for another two years before it was shut down.
The cat ran up the tree.
The hitchhiker ran out of money half-way across the country.

run down, CRITICIZE, berate, correct, critical of
take off ESCAPE

My mother ran off to go shopping
My co-worker tends to gossip and run everybody down.
The financial analyst ran the numbers and turned in the report.
The building violations ran up and the place was closed down.
The dog ran out the gate the moment it was opened.

[The End -- for now.]







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