- an act or action of a person or thing that rubs.
- an impression of an incised or sculptured surface made by laying paper over it and rubbing with heelball, graphite, or a similar substance until the image appears.
Origin of rubbing
- to subject the surface of (a thing or person) to pressure and friction, as in cleaning, smoothing, polishing, coating, massaging, or soothing: to rub a table top with wax polish; to rub the entire back area.
- to move (something) back and forth or with a rotary motion, as against or along another surface: to rub the cloth over the glass pane.
- to spread or apply (something) with pressure and friction over something else or a person: to rub lotion on her chapped hands.
- to move (two things) with pressure and friction over or back and forth over each other (often followed by together): He rubbed his hands together.
- to mark, polish, force, move, etc. (something) by pressure and friction (often followed by over, in, or into).
- to remove by pressure and friction; erase (often followed by off or out).
- to exert pressure and friction on something.
- to move with pressure against something.
- to admit of being rubbed in a specified manner: Chalk rubs off easily.
- Chiefly British. to proceed, continue in a course, or keep going with effort or difficulty (usually followed by on, along, or through): He manages to rub along.
- an act or instance of rubbing: an alcohol rub.
- something that annoys or irritates one's feelings, as a sharp criticism, a sarcastic remark, or the like: to resent rubs concerning one's character.
- an annoying experience or circumstance.
- an obstacle, impediment, or difficulty: We'd like to travel, but the rub is that we have no money.
- a rough or abraded area caused by rubbing.
- rub down,
- to smooth off, polish, or apply a coating to: to rub a chair down with sandpaper.
- to give a massage to.
- rub off on, to become transferred or communicated to by example or association: Some of his good luck must have rubbed off on me.
- rub out,
- to obliterate; erase.
- Slang.to murder: They rubbed him out before he could get to the police.
- rub it in, Informal. to emphasize or reiterate something unpleasant in order to tease or annoy: The situation was embarrassing enough without having you rub it in.
- rub salt in/into someone's wounds. salt1(def 23).
- rub the wrong way, to irritate; offend; annoy: a manner that seemed to rub everyone the wrong way.
- rub up, British Informal. to refresh one's memory of (a subject, language, etc.).
Origin of rub
Synonyms for rubSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Words for rubbingscrub, coat, knead, glaze, cover, scrape, grind, paint, graze, caress, spread, brush, clean, smear, pat, smooth, wipe, apply, wear, slather
Examples from the Web for rubbing
Contemporary Examples of rubbing
The better she does,” she said, rubbing the skin around the clamps, “the heavier it gets.Dungeons and Genital Clamps: Inside a Legendary BDSM Chateau
December 20, 2014
Establishment figures, Tea Partiers, evangelicals, and libertarians will all be rubbing elbows at a single theater.The Most Interesting Place to Be Tonight
November 4, 2014
For the past week, political junkies throughout my home city of Chicago have been rubbing our hands in giddy anticipation.Could Rahm Lose to This Infamous Union Leader?
July 3, 2014
He got a deck of cards and straddled one of the rubbing tables.Gordie Howe Hockey’s Greatest War Horse
May 31, 2014
Everybody was rubbing elbows—and other body parts—all the time.Why Did Llewyn Davis’s Greenwich Village Disappear?
December 7, 2013
Historical Examples of rubbing
I often saw him chuckling and rubbing his hands as if in approbation.The Bacillus of Beauty
They made fire by the rubbing of sticks, shot poisoned arrows at game.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
Her husband had been taking a nap in the sitting-room, and he came out, rubbing his eyes.Meadow Grass
He can defend himself pretty well, said Bell, rubbing his face.The Field of Ice
The Angel explained how they must be used for rubbing the blind father's eyes.My Double Life
- an impression taken of an incised or raised surface, such as a brass plate on a tomb, by laying paper over it and rubbing with wax, graphite, etc
- to apply pressure and friction to (something) with a circular or backward and forward motion
- to move (something) with pressure along, over, or against (a surface)
- to chafe or fray
- (tr) to bring into a certain condition by rubbingrub it clean
- (tr) to spread with pressure, esp in order to cause to be absorbedhe rubbed ointment into his back
- (tr) to mix (fat) into flour with the fingertips, as in making pastry
- (foll by off, out, away, etc) to remove or be removed by rubbing
- bowls (of a bowl) to be slowed or deflected by an uneven patch on the green
- (tr often foll by together) to move against each other with pressure and friction (esp in the phrases rub one's hands, often a sign of glee, anticipation, or satisfaction, and rub noses, a greeting among Inuit people)
- rub someone's nose in it informal to remind someone unkindly of his failing or error
- rub up the wrong way to arouse anger (in); annoy
- rub shoulders with or rub elbows with informal to mix with socially or associate with
- the act of rubbing
- the rub an obstacle or difficulty (esp in the phrase there's the rub)
- something that hurts the feelings or annoys; rebuke
- bowls an uneven patch in the green
- any roughness or unevenness of surface
- golfan incident of accidental interference with the ball
- informala piece of good or bad luck
Word Origin for rub
Word Origin and History for rubbing
early 14c., transitive and intransitive, of uncertain origin, perhaps related to East Frisian rubben "to scratch, rub," and Low German rubbeling "rough, uneven," or similar words in Scandinavian (cf. Danish rubbe "to rub, scrub," Norwegian rubba), of uncertain origin. Related: Rubbed; rubbing.
To rub (someone) the wrong way is from 1853; probably the notion is of cats' fur. To rub noses in greeting as a sign of friendship (attested from 1822) formerly was common among Eskimos, Maoris, and some other Pacific Islanders. Rub out "obliterate" is from 1560s; underworld slang sense of "kill" is recorded from 1848, American English. Rub off "remove by rubbing" is from 1590s; meaning "have an influence" is recorded from 1959.
"act of rubbing," 1610s, from rub (v.); earlier "obstacle, inequality on ground" (1580s, common in 17c.) which is the figure in Hamlet's there's the rub (1602).
- The application of friction and pressure.
- Such a procedure applied to the body.
Idioms and Phrases with rubbing
In addition to the idioms beginning with rub
- rub down
- rub elbows with
- rub in
- rub off on
- rub one's hands
- rub out
- rub someone's nose in it
- rub the wrong way
- rub up on
- the rub