rub off on


Become transferred to another, influence through close contact, as in We hoped some of their good manners would rub off on our children. This idiom alludes to transferring something like paint to another substance by rubbing against it. [Mid-1900s]

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