- Rub is defined as to use your hand to apply pressure and friction in a circular motion, or to move one thing against another.
- An example of to rub is getting a back massage.
- An example of to rub is to have two things move against each other with pressure, such as a horse and a saddle.
transitive verbrubbed, rubbing
- to move one's hand, a cloth, etc. over (a surface or object) with pressure and friction, in a circular or back-and-forth motion
- to move (one's hand, a cloth, etc.) over, or spread or apply (polish, etc.) on or over, a surface or object in this way
- to move (a thing) against something else, or move (things) over each other with pressure and friction: often followed by together, etc.
- to apply pressure and friction to, for cleaning, polishing, smoothing, etc.
- to put into a specified condition by applying pressure and friction: to rub oneself dry
- to make sore or chafed by rubbing
- to force, cause to go, etc. (in, into, etc.) by rubbing
- to remove by rubbing (out, off, away, etc.)
Origin of rubMiddle English rubben, akin to Danish rubbe, East Frisian rubben ; from Indo-European an unverified form reup-, to tear out ; from base an unverified form reu-, to dig, tear out from source rob, rip, rug, rubble, Classical Latin rumpere, to break
- to move with pressure and friction (on, against, etc.): the tire rubbing against the fender
- to rub something; exert pressure and friction on something
- to admit of being rubbed or removed by rubbing: often with off, out, etc.
- to arouse anger or irritation
- the act or an instance of rubbing; specif., a massage
- an obstacle, hindrance, or difficulty
- a place or spot that has been rubbed until rough or sore
- something that irritates, annoys, offends, etc., as a jeer or rebuke
- to massage
- to smooth, polish, wear down, etc. by rubbing
rub elbows with
rub it in
rub off on☆
- to erase or be erased by rubbing
- ☆ Slang to kill or murder
rub the wrong way
verbrubbed rubbed, rub·bing, rubs
- To apply pressure and friction to (a surface).
- To clean, polish, or manipulate by the application of pressure and friction.
- To apply to a surface firmly and with friction: rub lotion on the hands; rub dye into the fabric.
- To move (an object or objects) firmly along a surface, especially repeatedly: rub an eraser over the blackboard; rubbed my fingers over the sore spot.
- To cause to become worn, chafed, or irritated.
- To remove, erase, or expunge: rub away a stain; rubbed the sleep from my eyes.
- a. To exert pressure or friction on something.b. To wear or chafe with friction: My shoes were beginning to rub.c. To cause irritation or annoyance.
- To move along in contact with a surface; graze or scrape.
- To be transferred or removed by contact or proximity: newsprint that rubbed off on my fingers; wished some of her luck would rub off on me.
- The act of rubbing.
- The application of friction and pressure: a back rub.
- A substance or preparation applied by rubbing, especially:a. A liniment or balm.b. A seasoning made of ground spices and herbs, applied to the surface of meat, fish, or vegetables before cooking.
- An unevenness on a surface.
- An act or remark that annoys or hurts another.
- A difficulty or obstacle: “The rub for extraterrestrial life on Europa is that the moon's surface is an icy wasteland” (William J. Broad).
Origin of rubMiddle English rubben.
(third-person singular simple present rubs, present participle rubbing, simple past and past participle rubbed)
- To move (one object) while maintaining contact with another object over some area, with pressure and friction.
- I rubbed the cloth over the glass.
- The cat rubbed itself against my leg.
- I rubbed my hands together for warmth.
- To rub something against (a second thing).
- I rubbed the glass with the cloth.
- (intransitive) To be rubbed against something.
- My shoes are beginning to rub.
- To spread a substance thinly over; to smear.
- meat rubbed with spices before barbecuing
- (dated) To move or pass with difficulty.
- to rub through woods, as huntsmen
- To scour; to burnish; to polish; to brighten; to cleanse; often with up or over.
- to rub up silver
- To hinder; to cross; to thwart.