run to earth
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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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
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.
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).
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer