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...the boys were sitting around in the Palace sipping the result of Eddie’s latest contribution. Gay was there too, the latest member of the group. Eddie sipped speculatively from his glass and smacked his lips. “It’s funny how you get a run,” he said. “Take last night. There was at least ten guys ordered Manhattans. Sometimes maybe you don’t get two calls for a Manhattan in a month. It’s the grenadine gives the stuff that taste.”

John Steinbeck. Cannery Row.

What does it mean "It’s funny how you get a run"?
I think I understand all words but do not understand whole sentence.
Is it possible to say the same in other words and more simply?

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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, MετάEd, Carlo_R., tchrist, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jan 9 '13 at 1:27

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
It would help if you told us not just "I understand all words", but also how you understand each word. Because obviously if you really did understand what run means, you would understand the sentence as a whole. (What's more, the meaning of run in this context is actually explained in the next two sentences.) –  RegDwigнt Jan 8 '13 at 20:18
    
run –  Matt Эллен Jan 8 '13 at 20:53
    
Hmm. If the poster knew that the problem was that he was trying to apply the wrong definition of one of the words, and he knew which word that was, then he wouldn't have had to ask the question. The philosophy here seems to be that a question is not complete or legitimate unless the questioner can narrow the problem down to the point where he could look up the answer in a reference book. In which case it would be closed as "general reference". –  Jay Jan 8 '13 at 22:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

From dictionary.com's definition of run:

126: any extensive continued demand, sale, or the like: a run on umbrellas on a rainy day.

So, "it's odd how sometimes there is an unusually high volume of orders for a particular product", namely Manhattans.

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You are right, of course, but I'd like to point out a side note: given that this is definition #126, it may be a bit difficult for someone to locate this in our usual sense of "general reference". One can run into quite a few problems trying to figure out what run means in a given context. –  J.R. Jan 9 '13 at 2:35
    
I agree, I'm sure that if I didn't know the meaning of a word, I'd probably give up after trying the 23rd or 37th definition, especially if as an unskilled speaker I couldn't even be sure I was understanding some of them properly anyway. –  Hellion Jan 9 '13 at 2:44

To "get a run" here simply means to have a number of similar events happen in sequence. In this case, the bartender has a run of ten men ordering Manhattans.

run
26. A trend or tendency:

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