rub

verb
\ ˈrəb \
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

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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

Boogie took in brands like Sacai, Amiri, and Balmain, while rubbing shoulders with the likes of Naomi Campbell. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Meet the Bronx-Born Rapper Poised to Become the Fashion World’s New Muse," 22 Jan. 2019 Max Rose, a New York Democrat, allowed a few colleagues to rub his bald head for luck, but the results were mixed. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "Coveting a Prime Office Is a Bipartisan Affair for Incoming Lawmakers," 30 Nov. 2018 Use a circular motion to gently rub the cleanser onto your skin. Dr. Leslie Baumann, miamiherald, "How to use a skin cleanser and see results," 3 July 2018 The fork allows you to remove the anchovy fillets without having to rub your hands all over them, which is generally a pretty good way to keep your hands smelling nice. Alex Delany, Bon Appetit, "The Best Anchovies Don't Come in a Tin, People," 25 June 2018 Josh Reddick reached to rub the big man's midsection. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Evan Gattis' grand slam lifts Astros over Royals," 15 June 2018 Blinking caused those masses of mascara to rub her eyeballs—which could have led to potentially blinding infections, according to reports. Sarah Klein, Health.com, "This Scary Photo Is Proof You Need to Take Off Your Mascara Every Night," 1 June 2018 This will, no doubt, rub some people the wrong way. Scott Gilbertson, Ars Technica, "A tour of elementary OS, perhaps the Linux world’s best hope for the mainstream," 28 Dec. 2018 Transfer to a bowl, add oats and pecans, and rub with hands to combine; refrigerate until ready to use. Woman's Day Test Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Cranberry-Pear Pecan Crumb Pie," 24 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the rub is that neither of his demands — either for $5 billion in border wall funding or for a shutdown of the ports of entry between the US and Mexico — are being taken very seriously. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Trump threatens to shut down the border for the third time in three months," 29 Dec. 2018 Meanwhile, make rub: Place coconut flakes, mint leaves, cilantro, chile, ginger, fennel, coriander, turmeric, lime juice, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor or blender. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, "This Summery Coconut-Spice Halibut Is Great Steamed or Grilled," 26 June 2018 Place remaining rub into the beer can along with lemon peel. 3. Redbook, "Beer Can Charmoula Chicken," 13 May 2012 There are a lot of different possible outcomes, and therein lies the rub. Jen Kirby, Vox, "UK Parliament just dealt a blow to Theresa May. What’s next for Brexit?," 6 Dec. 2018 But here’s the rub: These recent estimates from the Washington University study reveal a stark imbalance in the intake and the outflow. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Earth’s Crust Is Swallowing Way More Ocean Than We Thought," 15 Nov. 2018 Generously massage half the amount of rub over your ribs. Kelly Vaughan, courant.com, "BBQ Recipes," 22 June 2018 To remove odor, make a thick paste with water and baking soda, rub into the grout, and wipe once dry. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of That Cat Pee Smell on Carpets, Wood, and Upholstery," 17 Dec. 2018 The rub, of course, is that music streaming isn’t a terribly profitable business, due mostly to the royalties streamers must pay to labels and artists. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Apple Faces the Music," 18 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for rub

Last Updated

20 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rub

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

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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
formal : something that causes a difficulty or problem
US : a combination of spices that is rubbed into the surface of meat before the meat is cooked

rub

verb
\ ˈrəb \
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 \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on rub

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rub

Spanish Central: Translation of rub

Nglish: Translation of rub for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rub for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rub

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