Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.


ancient characters used in Teutonic, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian inscriptionsinscription,
writing on durable material. The art is called epigraphy. Modern inscriptions are made for permanent, monumental record, as on gravestones, cornerstones, and building fronts; they are often decorative and imitative of ancient (usually Roman) methods.
..... Click the link for more information.
. They were probably first used by the East Goths (c.300), who are thought to have derived them from Helleno-Italic writing. The runes were adapted to carving on wood and stone; they consisted of perpendicular, oblique, and a few curved lines. The first six runic signs were for f, u, th, o (a), r, c (k), hence the name Futhorc for the runic alphabets. There were two alphabets, one of 16 signs and the other of 24 (the same 16 with 8 additional signs). They were used extensively throughout N Europe, Iceland, England, Ireland, and Scotland until the establishment of Christianity. From then on the use of runes was reviled as a pagan practice. In Scandinavia their use persisted even after the Middle Ages; there they were used for manuscripts as well as inscriptions. The word rune is derived from an early Anglo-Saxon word meaning secret or mystery.


See A. F. Brodeur, The Riddle of the Runes (1932, repr. 1973); R. I. Page, An Introduction to English Runes (1973).


Anything that requires heavy wizardry or black art to parse: core dumps, JCL commands, APL or code in a language you haven't a clue how to read. Not quite as bad as line noise, but close.

Compare casting the runes, Great Runes.


Special display characters (for example, the high-half graphics on an IBM PC).
References in periodicals archive ?
An extraordinary coming-of-age fantasy tale written by a dynamic new voice in the world of fantasy, Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows has garnered high advance praise.
The Runes never tell fortunes, nor do they predict future events.
Ninth Expansion Also Introduces New Runes and Enhancements
On many rune stones the interplay between ornamentation and the runes is striking.
Soon I wrote as easily as nature did, putting runes together to make words, messages.
At launch, the online store will have nearly 200 Runes.
He has a talking Treebeard figure and a Gollum statue in his office, writes his class notes in runes and even traveled to Marquette University in Wisconsin recently to look at the original, handwritten manuscripts for ``The Hobbit'' -- first published in 1937 -- and the ``Lord of the Rings'' trilogy, published in 1954-55.
Many methods of predicting the future, from tarot to runes and the I Ching, can be traced to ancient cultures, and in Oracles Of The Dead: Ancient Techniques For Predicting The Future, Robert Temple surveys the Greek and Roman traditions and techniques which have carried these methods to modern times.
But was it just luck or can psychic skills like reading runes or seeing shapes in your tea leaves really help you hit the jackpot?
Project leaders Rich Townend and Vicki Payne dressed up in authentic costumes to tell the kids all about Viking runes, longships and armour.
The document notes with "great sadness" that "ecumenical initiatives which are well-intentioned, nevertheless indulge at runes in eucharistic practices contrary to the discipline by which the church expresses her faith.
Godfrid Storms explained this as follows: '[Woden] takes nine glory-twigs, by which are meant nine runes, that is nine twigs with the initial letters in runes of the plants representing the power inherent in them, and using them as weapons he smites the serpent with them.