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

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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

Speaking with British parenting website Mumsnet, savvy moms across the pond recently shared that rubbing baby powder on your sandy feet and toes before cleaning your feet is a game-changer. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Moms Love This Trick for Cleaning Sandy Beach Feet," 1 July 2019 Deer rubbing their antlers on the trunk can do the same. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, "More great plants for color in your San Antonio summer garden," 14 June 2019 Profile: Dahlia is quick to rub her face on your hand and ask for more rubs. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pet of the week for adoption," 14 June 2019 Put a soft silk scarf over the buns to keep them in place, without the friction of your pillowcase rubbing on them. Glamour, "How to Keep Curls Overnight Without Losing Their Shape," 14 May 2019 Arne Maier rubbed salt into the wounds in extra time with a sublime sixth for the Germans. SI.com, "UEFA European Under-21 Championship Roundup: Germany Demolish Serbia & Denmark Earn First Points," 21 June 2019 Then rub the spot with your toothbrush or a suede cleaning brush. Danielle Flum, Seventeen, "How to Clean Even the Dirtiest White Shoes," 18 June 2019 With just over four minutes remaining and the Warriors coming out of a timeout, Curry rubbed his hands in the corner nearest the Warriors bench for one last hurrah. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "NBA Finals: Warriors Steph Curry exits Oracle determined to return," 7 June 2019 The meat is salted, not rubbed, and comes with gobs of tangy sauce and barbecue slaw. Verna Gates, al.com, "The Alabama barbecue road trip you must take this summer," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Toss in a large bowl with an ample handful of your favorite barbecue spice rub until wings are evenly coated. Dallas News, "Fort Worth's Heim Barbecue shares recipes for the perfect cookout side dishes," 1 July 2019 This will purge them of most of their gritty spice rub. Bonnie S. Benwick, The Denver Post, "Fire up your summer with recipes from the season’s new grilling cookbooks," 24 June 2019 Frye stretched his legs, rolled onto his back and shook his whole body — this was his way of asking for a belly rub, Bennett said. Valerie Royzman, Cincinnati.com, "Can a dog make a difference in the lives of those in recovery? For some, yes.," 9 June 2019 Artisan smoked foods by Route 40 barbecue; Old Bay steamed shrimp, pork ribs (with chef Nic Galloro’s famous rub), pulled pork, barbecue chicken, salads, beverages with wine and beer, desserts. Ron Browning, baltimoresun.com, "Havre de Grace: Plenty to do as summer officially begins," 21 June 2019 Next, cut a lemon in half and rub on the area for about five minutes per elbow, pat dry and use lotion on your elbows. Heloise, Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Added advice for Alaska RV trip," 21 June 2019 Profile: Dahlia is quick to rub her face on your hand and ask for more rubs. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pet of the week for adoption," 14 June 2019 Place ribs on large piece of foil on rimmed baking sheet and rub with spice mixture. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Double Red-Eye St. Louis–Style Ribs," 5 June 2019 Place all the rub ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Bibby Gignilliat, The Mercury News, "Quick Cook: Herb, Garlic and Lemon Halibut," 8 June 2019

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

10 Jul 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 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

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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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