See more synonyms for rubber on
  1. Also called India rubber, natural rubber, gum, gum elastic, caoutchouc. a highly elastic solid substance, light cream or dark amber in color, polymerized by the drying and coagulation of the latex or milky juice of rubber trees and plants, especially Hevea and Ficus species.
  2. a material made by chemically treating and toughening this substance, valued for its elasticity, nonconduction of electricity, shock absorption, and resistance to moisture, used in the manufacture of erasers, electrical insulation, elastic bands, crepe soles, toys, water hoses, tires, and many other products.
  3. any of various similar substances and materials made synthetically.Compare synthetic rubber.
  4. rubber band.
  5. an eraser of this material, for erasing pencil marks, ink marks, etc.
  6. Informal. a rubber tire or a set of rubber tires.
  7. a low overshoe of this material.
  8. an instrument or tool used for rubbing, polishing, scraping, etc.
  9. a person who rubs something, as to smooth or polish it.
  10. cutter(def 8).
  11. British. a dishcloth.
  12. a person who gives massages; masseur or masseuse.
  13. Horse Racing. swipe(def 7).
  14. Baseball. an oblong piece of white rubber or other material embedded in the mound at the point from which the pitcher delivers the ball.
  15. a coarse file.
  16. Slang. a condom.
verb (used without object)
  1. Informal. to rubberneck.
  1. made of, containing, or coated with rubber: a rubber bath mat.
  2. pertaining to or producing rubber: a rubber plantation.

Origin of rubber

First recorded in 1530–40; rub + -er1
Related formsrub·ber·less, adjectiverub·ber·like, adjective


  1. (in certain card games, as bridge and whist)
  2. a series or round played until one sidereaches a specific score or wins a specific number of hands.
  3. a series consisting of an odd number of games won by the side winning the majority, usually two out of three.
  4. the deciding game in such a series.
  1. Also called rubber match. Sports. noting a deciding contest between two opponents who have previously won the same number of contests from each other.

Origin of rubber

First recorded in 1585–95; origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rubbers

Contemporary Examples of rubbers

  • Even George H.W. Bush earned the nickname “Rubbers” for his obsession with population control.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Can Condoms Fix Climate Change?

    Michelle Goldberg

    December 5, 2009

Historical Examples of rubbers

British Dictionary definitions for rubbers


  1. Also called: India rubber, gum elastic, caoutchouc a cream to dark brown elastic material obtained by coagulating and drying the latex from certain plants, esp the tree Hevea brasiliensis
  2. any of a large variety of elastomers produced by improving the properties of natural rubber or by synthetic means
  3. mainly British a piece of rubber or felt used for erasing something written, typed, etc; eraser
  4. a coarse file
  5. a cloth, pad, etc, used for polishing or buffing
  6. a person who rubs something in order to smooth, polish, or massage
  7. (often plural) mainly US and Canadian a rubberized waterproof article, such as a mackintosh or overshoe
  8. slang a male contraceptive; condom
  9. (modifier) made of or producing rubbera rubber ball; a rubber factory

Word Origin for rubber

C17: from rub + -er 1; the tree was so named because its product was used for rubbing out writing


  1. bridge whist
    1. a match of three games
    2. the deal that wins such a match
  2. a series of matches or games in any of various sports

Word Origin for rubber

C16: origin unknown
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 rubbers

see rubber (n.).



"thing that rubs" (a brush, cloth, etc.), 1530s, agent noun from rub (v.). The meaning "elastic substance from tropical plants" (short for India rubber) first recorded 1788, introduced to Europe 1744 by Charles Marie de la Condamine, so called because it originally was used as an eraser.

Very useful for erasing the strokes of black lead pencils, and is popularly called rubber, and lead-eater. [entry for Caoutchouc in Howard, "New Royal Encyclopedia," 1788]

Meaning "overshoe made of rubber" is 1842, American English; slang sense of "condom" is by 1930s. Sense of "deciding match" in a game or contest is 1590s, of unknown signification, and perhaps an entirely separate word. Rubber stamp (n.) is from 1881; figurative sense of "institution whose power is formal but not real" is from 1919; the verb in this sense is from 1934. Rubber cement is attested from 1856 (from 1823 as India-rubber cement). Rubber check (one that "bounces") is from 1927.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rubbers in Science


  1. An elastic material prepared from the milky sap of certain tropical plants, especially the tree Hevea brasiliensis. Rubber is a polymer that is used, after processing, in a great variety of products, including electric insulation and tires. In its pure form, it is white and consists of repeating units of C5H8.
  2. Any of various synthetic materials having properties that are similar to those of this substance.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.