Done a runner


      • To leave or flee quickly and without warning
        Used when someone suddenly and unexpectedly leaves a situation or location, often in an attempt to avoid responsibility or consequences

      • To fail to fulfill a commitment or obligation
        Describes someone who has abandoned a task or responsibility, often without explanation or warning

      • To skip out on paying a bill or debt
        Refers to someone who has left without paying for something, such as a meal or rent, and has no intention of returning or paying the amount owed

    Examples of Done a runner

    • The chef rushed out of the kitchen during service without giving any notice, leaving the kitchen staff confused and angry. They said he had 'done a runner'.

      This idiom is used when someone leaves suddenly, without giving any prior notice, such as a person who quits their job unexpectedly.

    • The student, who had a crucial exam the next day, suddenly disappeared from the examination hall in the middle of the exam. The invigilator couldn't catch him, and the others assumed that he had 'done a runner'.

      The meaning of 'done a runner' remains the same, but in this case, it's about a student who has left the exam hall suddenly without completing the exam.

    • The athlete, who was leading the race, suddenly quit mid-way, much to everyone's surprise. The commentator exclaimed, "He's done a runner!"

      Here, 'done a runner' is used in a sporting context, where a player abruptly leaves a game or match without completing it.

    • The team's marketing manager suddenly left the company, leaving behind several unfinished projects. His colleagues were bewildered and suspect that he has 'done a runner'.

      Finally, 'done a runner' is used here in a business context, where an employee abruptly quits their job without completing their ongoing projects or giving any notice, leaving the company and colleagues puzzled.

    • The waiter suddenly disappeared with the bill after finishing serving us, we thought he has done a runner.

      'Done a runner' in this context means that the waiter left abruptly without paying the bill, as though he was trying to avoid paying it. This idiom is suitable for this situation because it highlights the sense of sudden disappearance and leaving in hurry, much like a runner in a race. This idiom adds color to our language and helps describe this peculiar behavior of the waiter.

    • My colleague who was suppsed to present the project today has done a runner, leaving me dumbfounded and confused about what to do next.

      'Done a runner' in this context means that my colleague left the office or abandoned his duties without completing his work, like a runner abruptly leaving a race without finishing it. This idiom is suitable for this situation because it highlights the impolite and unprofessional behavior of my colleague, leaving me in a difficult position to pick up the pieces.

    • The government official took the money and did a runner with the files, leaving the investigation incomplete and unsolved.

      'Done a runner' here refers to the sudden disappearance of the official with important documents, after receiving money, as though he was running away from his responsibilities. This idiom is appropriate for the situation because it vividly portrays the unscrupulous behavior of the official and the impractical situation left behind for others to deal with.

    • The athlete, who had been leading the race, suddenly stopped and did a runner, leaving the rest of the competitors puzzled and disappointed.

      'Done a runner' in this context refers to the unexpected and abrupt departure of the athlete, leaving the race half-way through. This idiom is appropriate for this example because it emphasizes the suddenness of the runner's departure and the consequential shock and disappointment it causes to the others. It also adds a visual reference to the well-known experience of runners leaving a race.


    The idiom "done a runner" has a negative connotation and is often used to describe someone who has acted irresponsibly or dishonestly by leaving a situation without fulfilling their obligations. It can also be used to describe a situation where someone has suddenly disappeared, leaving others to deal with the consequences. Overall, it is a phrase used to express disappointment, frustration, or disapproval towards someone's actions.

    Origin of "Done a runner"

    The origin of this idiom is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the United Kingdom in the early 20th century. One theory suggests that it may have originated from the sport of horse racing, where a "runner" refers to a horse that has suddenly bolted from the race. This could have been applied to someone who suddenly leaves a situation without warning or explanation.

    Another theory suggests that it may have originated from the phrase "to do a bunk," which was used to describe someone who has escaped from prison. Over time, this phrase evolved into "done a runner" and was used more broadly to describe someone who has fled or disappeared without fulfilling their commitments.

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom "done a runner" has become a widely used phrase in everyday English and is often used in informal situations or conversations.