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  1. the young of certain animals, as the bear, lion, or tiger.
  2. a young shark.
  3. a young and inexperienced person, especially a callow youth or young man.
  4. a young person serving as an apprentice.
  5. cub reporter.
  6. cub scout.
  7. (initial capital letter) Aeronautics, Trademark. any small, light monoplane with a high wing, a single engine, and an enclosed cabin.
verb (used without object), cubbed, cub·bing.
  1. to work as a cub reporter.
  2. (of a female bear, lion, tiger, etc.) to give birth to a cub or cubs.
  3. to hunt fox cubs.

Origin of cub

1520–30; perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse kobbi young seal, kubbr stump, hence, short, thick-set person
Related formscub·bish, adjective


  1. cubic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cub

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • As he spoke he glared at her as a lion might glare at thought of being defeated by a cub.

  • But there were other forces at work in the cub, the greatest of which was growth.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • Midway in the passage, the current picked up the cub and swept him downstream.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • The cub experienced another access of affection on the part of his mother.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • The cub, who had thus received a name in the world, lay and watched.

    White Fang

    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for cub


  1. the young of certain animals, such as the lion, bear, etc
  2. a young or inexperienced person
verb cubs, cubbing or cubbed
  1. to give birth to (cubs)
Derived Formscubbish, adjectivecubbishly, adverb

Word Origin

C16: perhaps from Old Norse kubbi young seal; see cob 1


  1. short for Cub Scout
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cub


1520s, cubbe "young fox," of unknown origin; perhaps from Old Irish cuib "whelp," or from Old Norse kobbi "seal." Extended to the young of bears, lions, etc., after 1590s. The native word was whelp. Cub Scout is from 1922.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper