run to earth

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.

run (someone or something) to earth

To succeed in tracking down the location of someone or something after an extensive or exhaustive search. After nearly three months of searching, we finally ran the suspects to earth. The record is quite rare, but I managed to run a copy to earth at a flea market in Atlanta.
See also: earth, run

run someone or something to earth

to find something after a search. Lisa finally ran her long-lost cousin to earth in Paris. After months of searching, I ran a copy of Jim's book to earth.
See also: earth, run

run to earth

Also, run to ground. Track down, find, as in Somehow we have to run those relatives of hers to earth, or It won't be easy, but I'm sure we can run that jewelry to ground. This expression comes from hunting, where hounds run their quarry to the earth or ground, that is, to their lair. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1800s.
See also: earth, run

run somebody/something to ˈearth/ˈground

(informal) find somebody/something after a long, difficult search: I spent years looking for the stolen picture but eventually ran it to ground in London.The escaped prisoner was run to ground within a couple of days.
This comes from hunting and means to chase an animal to its earth (= its home or hiding place).

run to earth, to

To find. The term comes from hunting, when the hounds run their quarry to its “earth” or “lair.” This meaning of “earth” survives only in the cliché, which had been transferred to tracking down just about anything or anyone by the mid-nineteenth century. The OED cites an 1888 issue of The Spectator: “All the men who helped to run to earth the various members of the Ruthven family.”
See also: run