running at large

running at large

adj. 1) referring to cattle or other animals which have escaped from an enclosure and are wandering. The owner will be liable for damage caused by such animals. 2) political campaigning by a candidate running for an office from no specific district, but from an entire city, county, or state.

References in classic literature ?
All the inconceivable filth a child running at large in a primitive countryside may hear men utter was mine; and though I had never dared utter such oaths, they now poured from me, at the top of my lungs, as I cursed my father sitting there underground and gambling with long-haired, long-nailed Chinamen.
Josie Pye never scrupled to ask questions; in this instance the rest of the class felt grateful to her; none of them would have dared to ask it of Miss Stacy, but all wanted to, for there had been alarming rumors running at large through the school for some time that Miss Stacy was not coming back the next year--that she had been offered a position in the grade school of her own home district and meant to accept.
Kabbara added that Hashem Salman's Hizbullah murderers still running at large is a case in point.