WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
rub /rʌb/USA pronunciation   v.,  rubbed, rub•bing, n. 
  1. to put friction on (something), as in polishing or massaging: [+ object]He rubbed the silver teapot with a cloth and some polish.[no object]He rubbed until the silver shone.[+ on/against + object]The noise you hear is the mechanism rubbing against something.
  2. to move, spread, or apply with friction over something:[+ object]to rub lotion on chapped hands.
  3. to move (two things) with pressure and friction over each other:[+ object]He rubbed his hands together.
  4. to remove or erase by pressure and friction: [+ off/out + object]She rubbed out the wrong answer with an eraser.[no object]Chalk rubs off easily.
  5. rub down: 
    • to smooth, polish, or clean by rubbing: [+ down + object]to rub down the door.[+ object + down]to rub the door down.
    • to massage: [+ down + object]to rub down the horse after the race.[+ object + down]to rub the horse down.
  6. rub off on, [+ off + on + object] to pass along to, as or as if by touching:Her talent for biology rubbed off on her daughters.
  7. rub out: 
    • to erase: [+ out + object]He rubbed out the wrong answer.[+ object + out]to rub the answer out.
    • [Slang.]to murder: [+ object + out]The rival clans were rubbing each other out.[+ out + object]threatening to rub out anyone who informs on them.

n. [countable]
  1. an act or instance of rubbing:an alcohol rub.
  2. an annoying experience or circumstance:[singular;  the + ~]You need experience to get hired, but here's the rub: how can you get experience if no one hires you?
  1. Idiomsrub elbows or shoulders with, [+ object] to associate or mix socially with:rubbing shoulders with the important people in Washington.
  2. Idiomsrub it in, [no object] to repeat something unpleasant to tease or annoy:kept rubbing it in about how I tripped going up on the stage.
  3. Idiomsrub (someone) the wrong way, to irritate;
    annoy:His laugh rubbed her the wrong way.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
rub (rub),USA pronunciation  v.,  rubbed, rub•bing, n. 

  1. to subject the surface of (a thing or person) to pressure and friction, as in cleaning, smoothing, polishing, coating, massaging, or soothing:to rub a table top with wax polish; to rub the entire back area.
  2. to move (something) back and forth or with a rotary motion, as against or along another surface:to rub the cloth over the glass pane.
  3. to spread or apply (something) with pressure and friction over something else or a person:to rub lotion on her chapped hands.
  4. to move (two things) with pressure and friction over or back and forth over each other (often fol. by together):He rubbed his hands together.
  5. to mark, polish, force, move, etc. (something) by pressure and friction (often fol. by over, in, or into).
  6. to remove by pressure and friction;
    erase (often fol. by off or out).

  1. to exert pressure and friction on something.
  2. to move with pressure against something.
  3. to admit of being rubbed in a specified manner:Chalk rubs off easily.
  4. British Terms[Chiefly Brit.]to proceed, continue in a course, or keep going with effort or difficulty (usually fol. by on, along, or through):He manages to rub along.
  5. rub down: 
    • to smooth off, polish, or apply a coating to:to rub a chair down with sandpaper.
    • to give a massage to.
  6. rub it in, [Informal.]to emphasize or reiterate something unpleasant in order to tease or annoy:The situation was embarrassing enough without having you rub it in.
  7. rub off on, to become transferred or communicated to by example or association:Some of his good luck must have rubbed off on me.
  8. rub out: 
    • to obliterate;
    • [Slang.]to murder:They rubbed him out before he could get to the police.
  9. rub the wrong way, to irritate;
    annoy:a manner that seemed to rub everyone the wrong way.
  10. British Termsrub up, to refresh one's memory of (a subject, language, etc.).

  1. an act or instance of rubbing:an alcohol rub.
  2. something that annoys or irritates one's feelings, as a sharp criticism, a sarcastic remark, or the like:to resent rubs concerning one's character.
  3. an annoying experience or circumstance.
  4. an obstacle, impediment, or difficulty:We'd like to travel, but the rub is that we have no money.
  5. a rough or abraded area caused by rubbing.
  • 1300–50; 1860–65 for def. 14b; Middle English rubben (verb, verbal); cognate with Frisian rubben, Danish rubbe, Swedish rubba
    • 20.See corresponding entry in Unabridged hitch, catch, thing, trouble, pinch.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

rub /rʌb/ vb (rubs, rubbing, rubbed)
  1. to apply pressure and friction to (something) with a circular or backward and forward motion
  2. to move (something) with pressure along, over, or against (a surface)
  3. to chafe or fray
  4. (transitive) to bring into a certain condition by rubbing: rub it clean
  5. (transitive) to spread with pressure, esp in order to cause to be absorbed: he rubbed ointment into his back
  6. (transitive) to mix (fat) into flour with the fingertips, as in making pastry
  7. followed by off, out, away, etc: to remove or be removed by rubbing
  8. (of a bowl) to be slowed or deflected by an uneven patch on the green
  9. (transitive) often followed by together: to move against each other with pressure and friction (esp in the phrases rub one's hands, often a sign of glee, anticipation, or satisfaction, and rub noses, a greeting among Inuit people)
  10. rub up the wrong wayto arouse anger (in); annoy
  1. the act of rubbing
  2. the ruban obstacle or difficulty (esp in the phrase there's the rub)
  3. something that hurts the feelings or annoys; rebuke
  4. an uneven patch in the green

See also rub along, rub down, rub in, rub off, rub outEtymology: 15th Century: perhaps from Low German rubben, of obscure origin

'rub' also found in these entries:

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