Posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 19, 2007
In Reply to: Run it to earth posted by Smokey Stover on June 19, 2007
: : : : What does "run it to earth" mean? What is its origin?
: : : I haven't heard that. Is it like "run to ground." Drive an animal into its burrow. From Merriam-Webster:
: : : to ground
: : : 1 : into a burrow - The fox went to ground.
: : : 2 : into hiding - Might need to make a run for it and go to ground someplace. -- Edward Hoagland.
: : Need more context. Some people also use "earth" and "ground" in the electrical sense so you could say "Run the blue wire to earth" or "to ground".
: Usually means "find it, track it down."
Example (mine): "I've been hearing a rumor that she's got a lover. Can you find out where it started?" "Don't worry I'll run it to earth."
It's a fox-hunting term, akin to "run to ground". In Britain a fox's burrow is called an "earth". When you hunt a fox (with hounds, not with a gun) he will generally do everything he can to shake the hounds off in open country. Only as a last resort will he "go to earth", i.e. dive into his own burrow, because once he has been "run to earth" the huntsman knows where he is and can send a couple of hunt terriers down the burrow to flush him out; he hasn't much chance of getting away. So you can speak of running a person to earth, or more figuratively of running a rumour or an idea to earth. (VSD)