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

Olay Regenerist Whip Fragrance-Free SHOP Apply small dots all over (don’t just take one glob onto your fingertips), then rub them in completely using small circular motions, working from the inside of your face outward. Nicole Catanese, Marie Claire, "5 Ways to Supercharge Your Skincare Products," 10 Dec. 2018 Be generous with salt and pepper, then shower it with roughly chopped rosemary, sliced garlic and a little olive oil, rubbing it in with your hands to coat well. David Tanis, The Seattle Times, "This hefty steak is light enough for August," 20 Aug. 2018 Seeing Is Believing Apply mineral sunscreen in small sections and really rub it in—this helps the product last longer on your skin and minimizes whitening, says Blum. Kari Molvar, Vogue, "Is Your Sunscreen Bad for the Planet? Here’s How to Choose an Ocean-Safe Formula," 14 Aug. 2018 Washington’s Republicans may have wanted to punish California, New York and other high-tax blue states — rubbing SALT in their political wounds, so to speak, from being on the losing side of the 2016 presidential race. Dan Walters, San Francisco Chronicle, "Will $12 billion tax bite drive rich from California?," 23 Apr. 2018 There are celebrity evangelists, like Emma Roberts, Melissa McCarthy, who rubbed CBD oil on her feet before the Oscars, and Kim Kardashian, who considered throwing a CBD-themed baby shower. Meirav Devash, Allure, "Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil in Beauty Products," 20 Apr. 2019 Just snip a leaf as close to the stem as possible and scoop it out or rub the cut-end on your sore spots. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Why Your Sunburn Itches — And How to Stop It," 19 Apr. 2019 Players still wanting to show off their bare arms may rub Vaseline on their arms to ward off the wind, while others will spray Right Guard to make sure the body doesn’t perspire—keeping skin dry and, therefore, warmer. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "How NFL Fields, and Players, Stay Warm for Winter Games," 16 Jan. 2019 Describing how the scene came to be in an interview with IGN, the now-65-year-old actor vaguely recalled director Steven Spielberg slyly asking him to unbutton and to rub oil on his chest. Jack Wisniewski, Fox News, "Massive Jeff Goldblum statue dedicated to 'Jurassic Park' 25th anniversary," 18 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To create a rustic, European feel the couple added wood beams to the ceiling and used a mortar rub and acid wash on their stone fireplace. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "6 Ways Eric and Jessie James Decker Turned Their House Into a Cozy Oasis," 2 Feb. 2019 Get ahead of the rub by wearing these $12 anti-chafe bands. Mona Gohara, Good Housekeeping, "How to Prevent and Treat That Annoying Rash Between Your Thighs," 6 July 2018 But The Bib treats chicken with respect: fat birds with skin turned shades of bronze and gold in the smoker, crunchy from the rosy rub of salt, pepper and spice. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "52 Weeks of BBQ: The Big Bib BBQ," 19 Jan. 2018 Season both sides with salt and pepper and a rub of oil. Multiple Authors, House Beautiful, "The Sea Grill's Grilled Day Boat Sea Scallops," 1 May 2010 And that's the rub: That knee-jerk conjecture takes place out of context. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Study Shows Parachutes Are Totally Worthless," 17 Dec. 2018 Place pork on baking sheet and rub with spice mixture. Kate Merker, Country Living, "Oven-Roasted Pulled Pork with Sweet-and-Spicy Sauce," 10 Aug. 2018 Because kids will stay healthier longer.’’ Ah, but there’s the rub. Sam Donnellon, Philly.com, "Elbow injuries - and surgery - affect high school pitchers more than anyone else," 9 July 2018 Pat pork dry with paper towel and rub with garlic mixture. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Dill-Crusted Pork and Farro Salad," 11 June 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

15 May 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

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