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grub

[gruhb]
noun
  1. the thick-bodied, sluggish larva of several insects, as of a scarab beetle.
  2. a dull, plodding person; drudge.
  3. an unkempt person.
  4. Slang. food; victuals.
  5. any remaining roots or stumps after cutting vegetation to clear land for farming.
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verb (used with object), grubbed, grub·bing.
  1. to dig; clear of roots, stumps, etc.
  2. to dig up by the roots; uproot (often followed by up or out).
  3. Slang. to supply with food; feed.
  4. Slang. to scrounge: to grub a cigarette.
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verb (used without object), grubbed, grub·bing.
  1. to dig; search by or as if by digging: We grubbed through piles of old junk to find the deed.
  2. to lead a laborious or groveling life; drudge: It's wonderful to have money after having to grub for so many years.
  3. to engage in laborious study.
  4. Slang. to eat; take food.
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Origin of grub

1250–1300; Middle English grubbe (noun), grubben (v.); akin to Old High German grubilōn to dig, German grübeln to rack (the brain), Old Norse gryfia hole, pit; see grave1, groove
Related formsgrub·ber, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for grubbers

Historical Examples

  • He knew nothing about the grubbers, but they were human so he still had a chance.

    Deathworld

    Harry Harrison

  • The city Pyrrans hated the "grubbers" and, without a doubt, the feeling was mutual.

    Deathworld

    Harry Harrison

  • This was a long chance to take, but it was the only way to contact the grubbers.

    Deathworld

    Harry Harrison

  • He had been in such a hurry to reach the city that he had forgotten about the grubbers.

    Deathworld

    Harry Harrison

  • The only thing offered that morning was by a man in the Riverside Building who wanted ten grubbers.

    Broke

    Edwin A. Brown


British Dictionary definitions for grubbers

grub

verb grubs, grubbing or grubbed
  1. (when tr, often foll by up or out) to search for and pull up (roots, stumps, etc) by digging in the ground
  2. to dig up the surface of (ground, soil, etc), esp to clear away roots, stumps, etc
  3. (intr; often foll by in or among) to search carefully
  4. (intr) to work unceasingly, esp at a dull task or research
  5. slang to provide (a person) with food or (of a person) to take food
  6. (tr) slang, mainly US to scroungeto grub a cigarette
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noun
  1. the short legless larva of certain insects, esp beetles
  2. slang food; victuals
  3. a person who works hard, esp in a dull plodding way
  4. British informal a dirty child
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Word Origin

C13: of Germanic origin; compare Old High German grubilōn to dig, German grübeln to rack one's brain, Middle Dutch grobben to scrape together; see grave ³, groove
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 grubbers

grub

v.

c.1300, from hypothetical Old English *grubbian, from West Germanic *grubbjan (cf. Middle Dutch grobben, Old High German grubilon "to dig, search," German grübeln "to meditate, ponder"), from Proto-Germanic *grub- "to dig," base of Old English grafan (see grave (v.)).

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grub

n.

"larva," early 15c., perhaps from grub (v.) on the notion of "digging insect," or from the possibly unrelated Middle English grub "dwarfish fellow" (c.1400). Meaning "dull drudge" is 1650s. The slang sense of "food" is first recorded 1650s, said to be from birds eating grubs, but also often linked with bub "drink."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper