scrub

1 of 3

noun (1)

often attributive
1
a
: a stunted tree or shrub
b
: vegetation consisting chiefly of scrubs
c
: a tract covered with scrub
2
: a domestic animal of mixed or unknown parentage and usually inferior conformation : mongrel
3
: a person of insignificant size or standing
4
: a player not belonging to the first string

scrub

2 of 3

verb

scrubbed; scrubbing

transitive verb

1
a(1)
: to clean with hard rubbing : scour
(2)
: to remove by scrubbing
b
: to subject to friction : rub
2
3
: cancel, eliminate
scrubbed the flight because of bad weather

intransitive verb

1
: to use hard rubbing in cleaning
2
: to prepare for performing surgery by scrubbing oneself
scrubbable adjective

scrub

3 of 3

noun (2)

1
: an act or instance of scrubbing
especially : cancellation
2
a
: one that scrubs
b
: a powerful and especially cosmetic cleanser
3
scrubs plural : loose-fitting clothing worn by hospital staff
surgical scrubs

Examples of scrub in a Sentence

Verb We scrubbed and scrubbed until the floor was clean. They scrubbed the game because of the bad weather.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Haircare - with all the shampoos, conditioners, scalp scrubs and hair oils - is a $13.4-billion industry in the United States alone. Adrienne Gibbs, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 The trail is generally surrounded by chaparral-dry scrub, which at the trail’s high elevation is often dominated by manzanita. Jim Holden, The Mercury News, 20 Feb. 2024 At the time, Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, who had been hospitalized for emergency abdominal surgery, made a surprise arrival, wheeled into the chamber in scrubs and socks to vote against it—leaving the vote tied, and failed. TIME, 14 Feb. 2024 Founded by Heather Hasson and Trina Spear, Figs was then just a precocious startup, but Soraya and Marina saw at a glance that the market for good-looking scrubs, which at the time were both ugly and scarce, was vast. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, 14 Feb. 2024 While agave likes drier, hotter, poorer soils than avocados, growers are still cutting down native scrub and low, thorny woods to plant the spikey-leafed seedlings, whose barrel-like centers will later be cooked down and fermented. Mark Stevenson, Fortune, 11 Feb. 2024 Capshaw had previously appeared as fan-favorite Arizona in 10 seasons of the show, acting in more than 220 episodes before hanging up her scrubs in 2018. Dan Heching, CNN, 10 Feb. 2024 As luck would have it, not only was the ring not destroyed during the laundering process — it was still safely tucked into the scrubs. Christine Rousselle, Fox News, 10 Feb. 2024 The scrub is gentler than traditional formulas and can be used on the face, body and feet to effectively remove dead skin cells whilst retaining moisture. Kat Romero, Rolling Stone, 7 Feb. 2024
Verb
Yet 2020 already seems historic—how remote so many of its rituals now feel, from the Lysol scrubbing of innocent groceries to the six-feet rule of social distancing. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 19 Feb. 2024 It’s equipped with two cleaning modes and four replaceable heads designed to scrub all sorts of grime off of bathtubs, tiles, grout lines, and more. Clara McMahon, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 The return of Inside Amy Schumer came and went with little notice, and the series’ entire run was recently scrubbed from Paramount+. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 15 Feb. 2024 This year’s John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon was scrubbed entirely. John Myers, Twin Cities, 2 Feb. 2024 Many posts later appeared to be scrubbed by censors, as the authorities intensify their censorship of criticism about China’s stalled economy. Laura He, CNN, 4 Feb. 2024 And scenes of Bill Paley scrubbing the bloodied floor as his wife enters the room captures the CBS exec’s humiliation. Kalia Richardson, Rolling Stone, 3 Feb. 2024 McClain said that crews came in on a Sunday, the day before the Dec. 11 shoot, and scrubbed the businesses of existing signs and branding, staged the windows, and brought in a variety of Chiefs items. David Hudnall, Kansas City Star, 26 Jan. 2024 Improving upon the existing triangular mop pad system, the robot scrubs at 180rpm with enough downward pressure to leave floors sparkling, while the EdgeSwing feature helps the device clean corners and crevices. Rudie Obias, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scrub.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, alteration of schrobbe, schrubbe shrub — more at shrub

Verb

of Low German or Scandinavian origin; akin to Middle Low German & Middle Dutch schrubben to scrub, Swedish skrubba

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

circa 1595, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

Noun (2)

1621, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of scrub was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near scrub

Cite this Entry

“Scrub.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scrub. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

scrub

1 of 3 noun
1
a
: a thick growth of small or stunted shrubs or trees
b
: an area of land covered with scrub
2
: a domestic animal of mixed or unknown parentage and usually inferior build
3
: a person of small size or low social rank
4
: a player not belonging to the first string
scrub adjective

scrub

2 of 3 verb
scrubbed; scrubbing
: to rub hard in cleaning or washing
scrub clothes
scrubber noun

scrub

3 of 3 noun
: an act or instance of scrubbing

Medical Definition

scrub

1 of 2 verb
scrubbed; scrubbing

transitive verb

: to clean and disinfect (the hands and forearms) before participating in surgery

intransitive verb

: to prepare for surgery by scrubbing oneself

scrub

2 of 2 noun
1
: an act or instance of scrubbing
a surgical scrub
2
plural : loose-fitting clothing worn by hospital staff
surgical scrubs

More from Merriam-Webster on scrub

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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