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.
- 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