rub·bing | \ˈrə-biŋ \

Definition of rubbing 

: an image of a raised, incised, or textured surface obtained by placing paper over it and rubbing the paper with a colored substance

Examples of rubbing in a Sentence

He made a rubbing of the old tombstone.

Recent Examples on the Web

Know that the enzymes do most of the exfoliating work — no rubbing allowed. Crystal Martin, New York Times, "Exfoliation Tips for the Best Skin Ever," 25 June 2018 That rubbing can also change the shape of your cornea, leading to keratoconus, the AAD says. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s Exactly What to Do About Eczema on Your Eyelid," 3 July 2018 These hybrid liquid formulas sink in easily, don’t require any rubbing and deliver a calming dose of hydration. New York Times, "How to Exfoliate, Without Damaging Your Skin," 29 May 2018 For his holiday card of 1964, Indiana had made pencil rubbings of the word LOVE, complete with his signature slanted O; one recipient of his card was MoMA curator Dorothy Miller. Elizabeth Botten, Smithsonian, "Archives Reveal Touching Stories on the Life of Robert Indiana, the Man Who Invented “LOVE”," 31 May 2018 Then go pluck another male, repeat the rubbing, and so forth. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Grow Your Own Kiwis In Your Backyard," 6 Feb. 2018 Children can make rubbings of the memorial’s carved names and explore the activities in the 9/11 Memorial Art Cart, which include writing and drawing in a journal. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, "Opening Young Minds With the Arts When Schools Are Closed," 28 Mar. 2018 For the first time in the history of The Wall That Heals, visitors will be able to do name rubbings of individual service member's names. Shelly Haskins,, "Vietnam 'Wall That Heals' replica coming to Huntsville," 22 Mar. 2018 The heel cup hugs the foot to prevent rubbing, and the toe box has plenty of room for toes to spread out. Mandy Ferreira, Sunset, "10 Best Hiking Boots for Men," 22 Jan. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of rubbing

1845, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rubbing

Statistics for rubbing

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rubbing

The first known use of rubbing was in 1845

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rubbing



English Language Learners Definition of rubbing

: an image of a surface that is made by placing paper over it and rubbing the paper with a pencil, crayon, etc.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on rubbing

What made you want to look up rubbing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!