(1) Every once in a while I pull out the necklace and let my fingers run over the wings of the butterfly.

(2) She let her thoughts run over the plan for a while.

My guess about (1) is to scrub sth and no idea with (2)

Could anyone explain what 'run over' means in each sentence above?


  • Can you please provide links to the place where you found these sentences? Also, try consulting a good dictionary, for example en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/run_over#h47248243844700, then update your question, including links to any dictionary references, if there are still things that you don't understand.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 2:40
  • Of course, I looked them up in a dictionary. I used "Collins", but it was not helpful. That's why I asked the question here. And about the links, I also can't find them because I found those sentences by using a corpus and it doesn't offer the links and just offer sentences but by six tokens only. So they don't offer the whole sentence. It just shows part of each complete sentence.
    – Park Mike
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 3:50
  • In future, please include as much context as possible, and provide links to references especially if they don't help you. The more information we have, the easier it is to see why you don't understand and to answer appropriately. And if somebody suggests providing more information, edit your question rather than commenting on it.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 6:59
  • I fully understood.
    – Park Mike
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


In the first sentence, the words run and over must be considered separately:

run (Cambridge Dictionary) to (cause something to) travel, move, or continue in a particular way

over (Cambridge Dictionary) across from one side to the other, especially by going up and then down

It seems that the speaker is talking about a necklace that has some sentimental value. The necklace has a butterfly pattern on it. Occasionally the speaker takes out the necklace and moves his fingers across the surface of the butterfly part of it.

In the second sentence, run over is a phrasal verb that has a very specific meaning: (Oxford Dictionary) Go over (something) quickly as a reminder or rehearsal.

This simply means that the she is thinking about the plan, but in a superficial way.

  • 1
    The original question does not include an example, but the idiom "run over" has at least one additional meaning: to collide with in such a way that the victim is forced underneath. For example, the song "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."
    – cobaltduck
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 19:17

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