- the sound of a drum when beaten.
Origin of rub-a-dub
First recorded in 1780–90; imitative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for rub-a-dub
Wolf gave a grunt like one of his pigs, and began his song of "Rub-a-dub."
And then we made a rub-a-dub on a goat-skin drum, which was hanging on a stump for visitors.Dariel
R. D. Blackmore
"Rub-a-Dub is to be buried exactly at eleven o'clock," said Iris.A Little Mother to the Others
L. T. Meade
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!"
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