What is the meaning of “runneth” in My Cup Runneth Over?
In the context, ‘runneth’ has no meaning as a word on its own, since it is simply the verb component of the phrasal verb ‘runneth over’. Phrasal verbs are constructions formed of verb plus adverb (and/or preposition) which, together, convey a meaning other than is derived from the individual components on their own.
‘Runneth over’, is a phrase perhaps most well-known in the King James, or Authorised, translation of Psalm 23:5 in the Bible. Its modern-day equivalent phrasal verb would be ‘runs over’ describing the way that fluid spills out of its container when the container is being overfilled. Modern-day translations of Psalm 23:5 commonly use the verb ‘overflows’, to convey the same meaning which is intended to describe an abundance, or excess, of provision.