Run somebody down

Hello! In my last post I looked at the phrase feel run-down (be in a poor physical condition, weak or exhausted, like during a cold or some other illness or from too much work). Run-down is an adjective obtained by conversion from the verb run down. Like many other phrasal verbs, this one has more than one meaning. Today I’ll be looking at one of them.

When you run somebody down you disparage them, you criticise them (often in an unfair way), you speak slightlingly of someone, you belittle them. Here are two examples: Don’t run her down! She’s very talented. | Please, stop running me down all the time!

Do any people you know sometimes run you down? Do you do it to others yourself? We usually run people down to make ourselves feel better. It doesn’t really work, of course. We don’t get well by doing that. As St. Ambrose of Milan used to say: No one heals himself by wounding another.