From Middle English rubben, possibly from Low German rubben, rubbeling or Saterland Frisian rubben. Or, of North Germanic origin, such as Swedish rubba (“to move, scrub”), all from Proto-Germanic *reufaną (“to tear”).
Cognate with Saterland Frisian rubje (“to rub, scrape”), German Low German rubben (“to rub”), Low German rubblig (“rough, uneven”), Dutch robben, rubben (“to rub smooth; scrape; scrub”), Danish rubbe (“to rub, scrub”), Icelandic and Norwegian rubba (“to scrape”).
rub (plural rubs)
- An act of rubbing.
- Give that lamp a good rub and see if any genies come out.
- A difficulty or problem.
- c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene i]:
- To die, to sleep— / To sleep—perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub! / For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, / When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, / Must give us pause
- 1922 February, James Joyce, “[[Episode 16]]”, in Ulysses, London: The Egoist Press, published October 1922, OCLC 2297483:
- […] the propriety of the cabman's shelter, as it was called, hardly a stonesthrow away near Butt bridge where they might hit upon some drinkables in the shape of a milk and soda or a mineral. But how to get there was the rub.
- 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard:
- 'My dear Devereux, I say, you mustn't talk in that wild way. You—you talk like a ruined man!'
'And I so comfortable!'
'Why, to be sure, Dick, you have had some little rubs, and, maybe, your follies and your vexations; but, hang it, you are young; you can't get experience—at least, so I've found it—without paying for it. […] '
- (archaic) A quip or sarcastic remark.
- In the game of crown green bowls, any obstacle by which a bowl is diverted from its normal course.
- Any substance designed to be applied by rubbing.
- a heat rub intended for muscular strains
- (Britain, naval slang) A loan.
- (transitive) To move (one object) while maintaining contact with another object over some area, with pressure and friction.
- 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
- “[…] This is Mr. Churchill, who, as you are aware, is good enough to come to us for his diaconate, and, as we hope, for much longer; and being a gentleman of independent means, he declines to take any payment.” Saying this Walden rubbed his hands together and smiled contentedly.
- I rubbed the cloth over the glass.
- The cat rubbed itself against my leg.
- I rubbed my hands together for warmth.
- (transitive) To rub something against (a second thing).
- I rubbed the glass with the cloth.
- 1536 (originally published, the quote if from a later edited version of unknown date), Thomas Elyot, The Castel of Helth
- It shall be expedient, after that body is cleaned, to rub the body with a coarse linen cloth.
- (intransitive) To be rubbed against something.
- My shoes are beginning to rub.
- (transitive) To spread a substance thinly over; to smear.
- meat rubbed with spices before barbecuing
- (dated) To move or pass with difficulty.
- to rub through woods, as huntsmen
- To scour; to burnish; to polish; to brighten; to cleanse; often with up or over.
- to rub up silver
- a. 1716, Robert South, Man Created in God's Image
- The whole business of our redemption is, in short, only to rub over the defaced copy of the creation
- To hinder; to cross; to thwart.
- c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act 2, scene ii]:
- 'Tis the duke's pleasure, / Whose disposition, all the world well knows, / Will not be rubbed nor stopped.
- (transitive, bowls) To touch the jack with the bowl.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- rub in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- rub in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
- rub at OneLook Dictionary Search
- Douglas Harper (2001–2021) , “rub”, in Online Etymology Dictionary
- back (the reverse side)
- rub karty ― back of the card
- rub mince ― reverse of the coin
- the other (often negative) aspect of a situation
- ^ "rub" in Jiří Rejzek, Český etymologický slovník, electronic version, Leda, 2007
- rub in Příruční slovník jazyka českého, 1935–1957
- rub in Slovník spisovného jazyka českého, 1960–1971, 1989
rub m (genitive singular rub, plural rubbyn)
- to rub
rȗb m (Cyrillic spelling ру̑б)