Rune (r&udd;n), n. [AS. r&umac;n a rune, a secret, a mystery; akin to Icel. r&umac;n, OHG. & Goth. r&umac;na a secret, secret colloquy, G. & Dan. rune rune, and probably to Gr. 'ereyna^n to search for. Cf. Roun to whisper.]


A letter, or character, belonging to the written language of the ancient Norsemen, or Scandinavians; in a wider sense, applied to the letters of the ancient nations of Northern Europe in general.

⇒ The Norsemen had a peculiar alphabet, consisting of sixteen letters, or characters, called runes, the origin of which is lost in the remotest antiquity. The signification of the word rune (mystery) seems to allude to the fact that originally only a few were acquainted with the use of these marks, and that they were mostly applied to secret tricks, witchcrafts and enchantments. But the runes were also used in communication by writing.

2. pl.

Old Norse poetry expressed in runes.

Runes were upon his tongue, As on the warrior's sword. Longfellow.

Rune stone, a stone bearing a runic inscription.


© Webster 1913.