What Does Make a Run For It Mean?

Make a Run For It Meaning

Definition: To attempt an escape; to run towards something or away from something.

A synonymous expression is to make a break for it.

Origin of Make a Run For It

Both versions of this idiom originated in the 1800s. Make a run for it came first in the first half of the century, whereas make a break for it did not appear until the latter half. Make a run for it has always been more popular, and today it is over twice as common.

Usually, the word it in the expression stands for freedom. It can also represent the place the person is running towards, such as a door.

making a run for itIt is important to note that when using this expression, it does not apply to just any escape.

Rather, because of the word run, there is a connotation that the escape must be made in great haste. People often use this if there is a period of waiting for exactly the right moment before making the attempt to get away in a burst of speed. It also implies that someone or something will try to chase and capture the escapees.

Examples of Make a Run For It

In the example below, two friends are attending a boring party.

Ted: This is the worst. Nothing exciting is happening at all.

Rufio: I know it’s dull but if Susan sees us leave, she’ll be sad.

Ted: What if she doesn’t see us leave? Maybe she won’t even realize we’ve gone. Let’s sneak out for an hour and go do something fun. Then we can come back for a few minutes and say goodbye. We’ll act as if we were here the whole time!

Rufio: I guess that could work. We’ll wait until her back is turned, and then we’ll make a run for it!

define make a run for itThis dialogue shows two friends who are reading the news.

Zayna: Oh my goodness! I can’t believe that girl escaped!

Ben: Which girl?

Zayna: Do you remember that horrible story about the little girl who got kidnapped when she was just 10 years old? It was almost two years ago. Anyway, apparently she was able to escape from her kidnapper!

Ben: Wow! How did she do that?

Zayna: She waited until he was preoccupied with something, and then she just made a run for it! She was able to reach a police officer. Luckily, the police officer recognized her and helped her escape!

More Examples

The excerpt is from an article about first dates, and what will make them succeed or fail.

  • Cue awkward silence when you find yourself sitting across from someone and you realize you have absolutely nothing in common. You either make a run for it or stick it out to the end. But whatever you decide this is what 9 percent of singles said this was their dating nightmare. –New York Post

This excerpt is about a diplomat who assaulted a woman and then tried to run away from police.

  • The cops arrived and detained Salih as they conducted interviews, and that’s when the diplomat tried to make a run for it. –New York Daily News


The phrase make a run for it means to run in order to try to get away.

Usually this refers to a dangerous situation. However, sometimes people use it to refer to an awkward social or business situation.