rub

verb
\ ˈrəb How to pronounce rub (audio) \
rubbed; rubbing

Definition of rub

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to move along the surface of a body with pressure : grate
b(1) : to fret or chafe with or as if with friction
(2) : to cause discontent, irritation, or anger
2 : to continue in a situation usually with slight difficulty in spite of financial difficulties, he is rubbing along
3 : to admit of being rubbed (as for erasure or obliteration)

transitive verb

1a : to subject to or as if to the action of something moving especially back and forth with pressure and friction
b(1) : to cause (a body) to move with pressure and friction along a surface
(2) : to treat in any of various ways by rubbing
c : to bring into reciprocal back-and-forth or rotary contact
rub elbows or rub shoulders
: to associate closely : mingle
rub one's nose in
: to bring forcefully or repeatedly to one's attention
rub the wrong way

rub

noun

Definition of rub (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an unevenness of surface (as of the ground in lawn bowling)
b : obstruction, difficulty the rub is that so few of the scholars have any sense of this truth themselves— Benjamin Farrington
c : something grating to the feelings (such as a gibe or harsh criticism)
d : something that mars serenity
2 : the application of friction with pressure an alcohol rub
3 US : a combination of spices that is rubbed into the surface of meat before the meat is cooked used a dry rub on the pork ribs

Examples of rub in a Sentence

Verb Could you rub my shoulders? He blinked and rubbed his eyes. The cat rubbed itself against my leg. The cat rubbed against my leg. Don't rub too hard or you'll tear the paper. He rubbed his hands with glee. There was a squeak when the boards rubbed together. The back of my shoe is rubbing against my heel and giving me a blister. There are marks where the chair has rubbed against the wall. There are marks where the chair has been rubbing the wall. Noun She's an amazing cook, but she rarely has time to make meals. There's the rub. He used his favorite rub on the steaks. a dry rub for chicken
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Rinse your skin with warm water and pat—not rub—dry with a clean towel. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, 30 Dec. 2021 If the spot has already darkened to a black stain, dip a toothbrush into a small amount of bleach and rub onto the stain. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Dec. 2021 Just place a few drops of oil to a paper towel or cloth and rub it into the wood. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, 4 Jan. 2022 On top of that, HBO's The White Lotus felt the need to rub it in by taking cheap shots at those of us working for online publications. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, 31 Dec. 2021 If the stain is still there, put a full-strength liquid laundry detergent on the fabric and rub it well, then launder as usual. Washington Post, 14 Dec. 2021 To be sure, refusing to rub elbows with tyrants and assorted swells from the International Olympic Committee is the right thing to do. oregonlive, 7 Dec. 2021 For the cosmopolitan progressives who normally dominate environmental policy making, these two new groups are somewhat embarrassing to rub shoulders with, which is why discussion of the two shifts has been rejected or muted. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 1 Dec. 2021 The next day, pour out the mixture and rub the inside with a nonabrasive scrubbing pad to be certain that everything is dissolved. Washington Post, 23 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And there’s the rub because most Americans are excluded from investing in private companies. Simon Constable, Time, 14 Jan. 2022 The rub is that most of Wood's health care investments have been around for a long time. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 12 Jan. 2022 The rub for investors is that the performance of data center stocks has been middling, despite all this growth. Carol Ryan, WSJ, 10 Jan. 2022 The rub can be as simple as an equally mixed blend of kosher or sea salt with coarse ground black pepper. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, 3 Jan. 2022 Our cosmos is at a low quantum vacuum energy level, but not the lowest and therein lies the rub. Bruce Dorminey, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 And therein lies the rub: in some cases, that can be much less secure than unlocking your phone with a fingerprint scan, or even a standard password. Washington Post, 15 July 2021 It can be used with pork, steaks and you can even use it as a base rub for briskets. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, 30 Nov. 2021 This time Hector came stomping in to push out a small buck that had just made a rub. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rub.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rub

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for rub

Verb

Middle English rubben; akin to East Frisian rubben to rub, scrape, Icelandic rubba to scrape

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Time Traveler for rub

Time Traveler

The first known use of rub was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near rub

Ruashid

rub

rub-a-dub

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for rub

Last Updated

21 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rub.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rub. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for rub

rub

verb

English Language Learners Definition of rub

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move something (such as your hand or an object) back and forth along the surface of (something) while pressing
: to move (two things) back and forth against each other
: to move back and forth many times against something in a way that causes pain or damage

rub

noun

English Language Learners Definition of rub (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of rubbing a surface with your hands or an object
: something that causes a difficulty or problem
: a combination of spices that is rubbed into the surface of meat before the meat is cooked

rub

verb
\ ˈrəb How to pronounce rub (audio) \
rubbed; rubbing

Kids Definition of rub

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move along the surface of something with pressure Kitty rubbed against my legs.
2 : to move back and forth against something in a way that causes pain or damage The back of my shoe is rubbing against my heel.
3 : to scour, polish, or smear by pressure and friction He rubbed oil on the wood.
rub elbows with
: to meet and talk with in a friendly way Stink got to rub elbows with the president …— Megan McDonald, Judy Moody
rub in
: to keep reminding someone of (something unpleasant) I know I looked silly. Don't rub it in.
rub off
: to come off a surface and often stick to another surface by rubbing The ink rubbed off on my fingers.
rub the wrong way
: to cause to be angry : irritate

rub

noun

Kids Definition of rub (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of rubbing a back rub
2 : something that causes a problem

rub

noun
\ ˈrəb How to pronounce rub (audio) \

Medical Definition of rub

1 : the application of friction with pressure an alcohol rub
2 : a sound heard in auscultation that is produced by the friction of one structure moving against another

More from Merriam-Webster on rub

Nglish: Translation of rub for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rub for Arabic Speakers

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