rub out

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rub out ‎(third-person singular simple present rubs out, present participle rubbing out, simple past and past participle rubbed out)

  1. (transitive) To delete or erase or remove (something) by rubbing.
    The teacher wanted to rub out the chalk marks on the blackboard.
  2. (obsolete) To get by; to live.
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, I.54:
      The first will understand but little of them, the latter over much; they might perhaps live and rub out in the middle region.
  3. (transitive, criminal slang) To kill, especially to murder.
    We had to rub out that witness.


Usage notes[edit]

  • In both senses the object may appear before or after the particle. If the object is a pronoun, then it must be before the particle.


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