the sound of a drum when beaten.

Origin of rub-a-dub

First recorded in 1780–90; imitative Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rub-a-dub

Historical Examples of rub-a-dub

  • Wolf gave a grunt like one of his pigs, and began his song of "Rub-a-dub."

    The Gold Thread

    Norman MacLeod

  • And then we made a rub-a-dub on a goat-skin drum, which was hanging on a stump for visitors.


    R. D. Blackmore

  • "Rub-a-Dub is to be buried exactly at eleven o'clock," said Iris.

  • And away he ran among the trees in search of his pigs, while Eric heard his little drum, and his song of "Rub-a-dub, halloo!"

    The Gold Thread

    Norman MacLeod

  • A little French drummer, singing to his rub-a-dub, and the agreeable yell of a dog, complete the vocal performers.

Word Origin and History for rub-a-dub

1787, echoic of the sound of a drum.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper