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[ruhb-er] /ˈrʌb ər/
Also called India rubber, natural rubber, gum, gum elastic, caoutchouc. a highly elastic solid substance, light cream or dark amber in color, polymerized by the drying and coagulation of the latex or milky juice of rubber trees and plants, especially Hevea and Ficus species.
a material made by chemically treating and toughening this substance, valued for its elasticity, nonconduction of electricity, shock absorption, and resistance to moisture, used in the manufacture of erasers, electrical insulation, elastic bands, crepe soles, toys, water hoses, tires, and many other products.
any of various similar substances and materials made synthetically.
an eraser of this material, for erasing pencil marks, ink marks, etc.
Informal. a rubber tire or a set of rubber tires.
a low overshoe of this material.
an instrument or tool used for rubbing, polishing, scraping, etc.
a person who rubs something, as to smooth or polish it.
cutter (def 8).
British. a dishcloth.
a person who gives massages; masseur or masseuse.
Horse Racing. swipe (def 7).
Baseball. an oblong piece of white rubber or other material embedded in the mound at the point from which the pitcher delivers the ball.
a coarse file.
Slang. a condom.
verb (used without object)
Informal. to rubberneck.
made of, containing, or coated with rubber:
a rubber bath mat.
pertaining to or producing rubber:
a rubber plantation.
Origin of rubber1
First recorded in 1530-40; rub + -er1
Related forms
rubberless, adjective
rubberlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rubbering
Historical Examples
  • As he ran Lub could not keep from rubbering as Ethan called it.

  • I happened to look out a minute ago and saw you rubbering up here.

    Quarter-Back Bates Ralph Henry Barbour
  • "Oh, I'm just rubbering to see where the goat's kept," the reporter answered, trying to assume a properly metropolitan expression.

    The False Gods

    George Horace Lorimer
  • I've seen the 'Cookies' rubbering and making comments that I know he heard.

    The Old Flute-Player Edward Marshall and Charles T. Dazey
British Dictionary definitions for rubbering


Also called India rubber, gum elastic, caoutchouc. a cream to dark brown elastic material obtained by coagulating and drying the latex from certain plants, esp the tree Hevea brasiliensis
any of a large variety of elastomers produced by improving the properties of natural rubber or by synthetic means
(mainly Brit) a piece of rubber or felt used for erasing something written, typed, etc; eraser
a coarse file
a cloth, pad, etc, used for polishing or buffing
a person who rubs something in order to smooth, polish, or massage
(often pl) (mainly US & Canadian) a rubberized waterproof article, such as a mackintosh or overshoe
(slang) a male contraceptive; condom
(modifier) made of or producing rubber: a rubber ball, a rubber factory
Word Origin
C17: from rub + -er1; the tree was so named because its product was used for rubbing out writing


(bridge, whist)
  1. a match of three games
  2. the deal that wins such a match
a series of matches or games in any of various sports
Word Origin
C16: origin unknown
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
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Word Origin and History for rubbering



"thing that rubs" (a brush, cloth, etc.), 1530s, agent noun from rub (v.). The meaning "elastic substance from tropical plants" (short for India rubber) first recorded 1788, introduced to Europe 1744 by Charles Marie de la Condamine, so called because it originally was used as an eraser.

Very useful for erasing the strokes of black lead pencils, and is popularly called rubber, and lead-eater. [entry for Caoutchouc in Howard, "New Royal Encyclopedia," 1788]
Meaning "overshoe made of rubber" is 1842, American English; slang sense of "condom" is by 1930s. Sense of "deciding match" in a game or contest is 1590s, of unknown signification, and perhaps an entirely separate word. Rubber stamp (n.) is from 1881; figurative sense of "institution whose power is formal but not real" is from 1919; the verb in this sense is from 1934. Rubber cement is attested from 1856 (from 1823 as India-rubber cement). Rubber check (one that "bounces") is from 1927.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rubbering in Science
  1. An elastic material prepared from the milky sap of certain tropical plants, especially the tree Hevea brasiliensis. Rubber is a polymer that is used, after processing, in a great variety of products, including electric insulation and tires. In its pure form, it is white and consists of repeating units of C5H8.

  2. Any of various synthetic materials having properties that are similar to those of this substance.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for rubbering

rubber 1


  1. A condom: ''Rubbers,'' Cushie told him (1930s+)
  2. Automobile tires: The thing's a wreck but has good rubber (1961+)


To gaze; gape: Don't be rubbering at McCorn (1896+)

Related Terms

burn rubber, lay rubber

rubber 2


A professional killer; hit man (1934+ Underworld)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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