run riot, to
To act in a chaotic manner. As soon as the alarm went off, everyone in the room ran riot.
run riotand run wild
Fig. to get out of control. The dandelions have run riot in our lawn. The children ran wild at the birthday party and had to be taken home.
1. If someone runs riot, they behave badly, sometimes violently, and in a way that is not controlled. My older sister Mandy had run riot so my parents were far stricter with me. In these neighbourhoods, gangs are allowed to run riot, terrorising the innocent while the police stay safely away.
2. If something such as imagination or speculation runs riot, it expresses itself or spreads in an uncontrolled way. My imagination ran riot, visualising late nights and weekend parties. We have no proof and when there is no proof, rumour runs riot. Note: In hunting, if the hounds run riot, they follow the scents of other animals rather than the one they are supposed to be chasing.
run riot1 behave in a violent and unrestrained way. 2 (of a mental faculty or emotion) function or be expressed without restraint. 3 proliferate or spread uncontrollably.
run ˈriotget out of control: They allow their children to run riot — it’s not surprising that the house is always in such a mess. ♢ His imagination ran riot as he thought what he would do if he won the money.
run riot, to
To act without restraint or control; to overrun, to grow unrestrainedly. The earliest use of this term dates from the early sixteenth century and appears in a book on farming, John Fitzherbert’s The Boke of Husbandry (1523): “Breake thy tenure, and ren ryot at large.” It is the primary meaning of riot—unruliness and disorder—that was being transferred here and has been so used ever since. “Ye suffer your Tongues to run ryot,” wrote Bishop Joseph Hall (Works, 1656).
See also: run