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This page has 23 definitions of rub with English translations in 6 languages. Rub is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use rub in a sentence are shown. Also define these 19 related words and terms: rubbing, difficulty, problem, quip, sarcastic, remark, crown green bowls, spice, meat, barbecue, loan, jack, bowl, back, rubaś, rim, edge, brink, and rib.
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 II, 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 Dictionary: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)
rub (verbal noun rubbey or rubbal)
- to rub
rȗb m (Cyrillic spelling ру̑б)
rub (pluarl rubbès)
- a rib
- Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A glossary, with some pieces of verse, of the old dialect of the English colony in the baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, J. Russell Smith, →ISBN