[ ruhb-doun ]
See synonyms for rubdown on
  1. a massage, especially after exercise or a steam bath.

Origin of rubdown

First recorded in 1665–75; noun use of verb phrase rub down Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use rubdown in a sentence

  • Give your cutting board a good rinse and rub down with a dish cloth or scrub brush.

  • The Texan went off to rub down his horse, mend his accoutrements, squat around the cooking fires, and gamble with the drivers.

    Overland | John William De Forest
  • After a brisk rub down, the girls did justice to a breakfast of fried eggs, bacon, toast and wild strawberries in thick cream.

    The Missing Formula | Mildred A. Wirt, AKA Ann Wirt
  • If, after the bath and rub-down, your body has reacted and you feel vigorous and fresh, that bath has done you good.

  • "Give her a rub down and a feed, and say nothing about it," said Gano, transferring something from his pocket to the man's hand.

    The Open Question | Elizabeth Robins
  • A cold bath, a brisk rub down and another glass of distilled water completed the morning training.

    Once a Week | Alan Alexander Milne

British Dictionary definitions for rub down

rub down

  1. to dry or clean (a horse, athlete, oneself, etc) vigorously, esp after exercise

  2. to make or become smooth by rubbing

  1. (tr) to prepare (a surface) for painting by rubbing it with sandpaper

  1. the act of rubbing down

  2. the Hong Kong term for dressing-down

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with rubdown


Briskly rub the body, as in a massage. For example, The trainer rubs down marathon runners, or That horse needs rubbing down. This expression was first used (and still is) for rubbing away dust and sweat from a horse. [Late 1600s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.