run in place


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run in place

1. Literally, to move one's legs as if running without actually leaving one spot. I usually have the kids run in place and do jumping jacks to warm up before gym class.
2. By extension, to do something without experiencing much progress. I feel like I'm just running in place because I still haven't been able to prove my hypothesis after weeks of experiments.
See also: place, run
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

run in place

Work or exert oneself without noticeable change or progress. For example, I've worked on this project for months but feel I'm running in place. This idiom employs in place in the sense of "on one spot," a usage dating from the late 1200s.
See also: place, run
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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