A woman gets a back rub.
- 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.
Rub is defined as to use your hand to apply pressure and friction in a circular motion, or to move one thing against another.
transitive verbrubbed, rub′bing
- 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
- figuratively, to be imparted, as through contact or influence: said of a quality, skill, behavior, etc.: let's see if her teacher's manners will rub off
- 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
- a mixture of herbs and spices, a liquid ingredient such as oil, etc. applied by spreading on meat or fish prior to grilling, barbecuing, etc.
Chiefly Brit. to manage or keep going in spite of difficulties
- to massage
- to smooth, polish, wear down, etc. by rubbing
rub elbows with
Informal to associate or mingle with (famous or prominent people, etc.)
also rub shoulders with
rub it in
Slang to keep on mentioning to someone his or her failure or mistake, often with some malice
rub off on
to be left on (something or someone) as a mark, as by rubbing or, figuratively, by personal contact or influence
- to erase or be erased by rubbing
- Slang to kill or murder
rub the wrong way
Informal to be annoying, irritating, etc. to
verbrubbed, 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