rub·​bing | \ ˈrə-biŋ How to pronounce rubbing (audio) \

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 Fumes and filth meant considerable cleaning labor for women—rubbing overalls with lard to remove industrial grease or scrubbing the basin of a washing machine to excise dust and silt. Scott W. Stern, The New Republic, "A Rust Belt City’s New Working Class," 31 Mar. 2021 Contact through touching or rubbing eyes may result in substantial but temporary eye injury. Washington Post, "Bear spray is showing up at protests and riots. Here’s why, and how it affects humans.," 19 Mar. 2021 Switching to supportive insoles or changing your shoes may help place your foot in a more anatomically correct position, thus reducing the amount of friction or rubbing on these areas inside footwear. Sian Babish,, "How to get rid of dead skin on feet," 21 Mar. 2021 They’re also designed to guard against rubbing that could cause blisters. Los Angeles Times, "Hiking wardrobe hit a plateau? Here’s how to level up," 13 Mar. 2021 The gathering had vanished after a little rubbing, with no visible changes to the fabric. Noelle Ike, CNN Underscored, "We tried Sheertex’s infamous ‘unrippable’ tights, and here’s what we thought," 3 Mar. 2021 Dab on and blot off, because rubbing might stretch the fabric or cause it to pill. Washington Post, "What’s the best way to clean my dirty cellular shades?," 1 Mar. 2021 Video Presented with scraps of paper dosed with iridoid, most of the cats initiated a ritualized rolling and rubbing. New York Times, "Your Cat Isn’t Just Getting High Off Catnip," 20 Jan. 2021 Valentine’s Art Virtual Workshop — Learn how to incorporate tissue printing, crayon rubbing, watercolor techniques and more into handmade valentines. Anchorage Daily News, "A roundup of fun, pandemic-safe events happening soon in Anchorage," 4 Feb. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of rubbing

1845, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for rubbing

Time Traveler

The first known use of rubbing was in 1845

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Statistics for rubbing

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rubbing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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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.

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