Run an Errand

Also: Run errands

Meaning Of Idiom ‘Run an Errand’

To run an errand means to take a short trip (usually in a car) to buy something or complete some other simple task; to carry out an errand.

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Run an errand is a common phrase in English that is not always recognized as an idiom. To run an errand means to complete one specific errand; to run errands means to complete more than one.

The errand referred to in running an errand is usually to go to a store to buy something. It can also mean to deliver something or retrieve something, such as from a friend. Going to the bank can also be referred to as running an errand. Another example is picking up one’s laundry or dry cleaning from the laundry.

An errand usually implies an activity of short duration so when we ‘run errands’ we aren’t traveling far. Of course, your perception of distance is relative to your environment. If you live in a rural area, for instance, an errand might necessitate a much longer drive than if you live in the city.

You can also run errands for someone. Running errands for someone can refer to many different sorts of tasks that you do for someone else.

Examples Of Use

“I’m going to skip lunch because I’ve got to run a few errands. I may get back a bit later than usual.”

“What are you doing today?” asked Errin. “Oh, I’m just going to run some errands and then do some house cleaning.”

“I took this job because it seemed exciting but all I do is run errands for my boss all day.”

“I have a couple of errands to run, mostly to the grocery store and the bank. I’ll call you later.”

“Since the pandemic, I haven’t been running many errands. I’m having everything delivered.”


Used since at least the latter half of the 1700s.

The word run, in English, has many senses and is used in a myriad of different ways. Here, run means to ‘carry out’ or complete.

More Idioms Starting with R

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