[ skruhb ]
/ skrʌb /

verb (used with object), scrubbed, scrub·bing.

verb (used without object), scrubbed, scrub·bing.

to cleanse something by hard rubbing.
to cleanse one's hands and arms as a preparation to performing or assisting in surgery (often followed by up).


Nearby words

  1. scrounge,
  2. scrounge around,
  3. scrounge up,
  4. scroungy,
  5. scrovegni chapel,
  6. scrub bird,
  7. scrub brush,
  8. scrub fowl,
  9. scrub jay,
  10. scrub nurse

Origin of scrub

1300–50; Middle English scrobben (noun) < Middle Dutch schrobben

Related formsscrub·ba·ble, adjectivenon·scrub·ba·ble, adjective


[ skruhb-uhp ]
/ ˈskrʌbˌʌp /


the act of washing or bathing thoroughly, especially the aseptic washing by doctors, nurses, etc., before a surgical operation.

Origin of scrub-up

First recorded in 1915–20 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for scrub up


/ (skrʌb) /

verb scrubs, scrubbing or scrubbed


the act of or an instance of scrubbing
See also scrub round

Word Origin for scrub

C14: from Middle Low German schrubben, or Middle Dutch schrobben


/ (skrʌb) /



small, stunted, or inferior
sport, US and Canadian
  1. (of a player) not in the first team
  2. (of a team) composed of such players
  3. (of a contest) between scratch or incomplete teams

Word Origin for scrub

C16: variation of shrub 1

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 scrub up
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with scrub up

scrub up

Thoroughly wash one's hands and forearms, as before performing surgery. For example, The residents had to scrub up in case they were called on to assist with the operation. [c. 1900]

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